Launch Recite Me web accessibility software

We’ve got some simple and cost-effective ways to help protect your property from nasty bursts caused by the cold, so you can continue to enjoy all the wonderful things you can do with water.

With a small amount of effort, you can make a huge difference and enjoying a cosy winter without the worry.

Check out our top tips and advice on what to do if your pipes do burst or freeze below.

Be prepared

#1 Pipes – wrap 'em up!

Protecting your pipes may seem like a dull and unnecessary job, but it really is essential to prepare your property to prevent bursts.

We recommend covering all of your water pipes – including those outside your property – with a foam tube called lagging. It's cheap, easy to fit and available from most DIY stores for about £3. Just remember to use waterproof lagging for any outdoor pipes.

#2 Keep your home nice and toasty

If you can, try to keep your property snug at all times. Try putting draught excluders on doors or a thin sheet of card with tinfoil behind your radiator (this will reflect heat back into your room, meaning it warms up faster and retains more heat).

We also recommend you keep your heating on low, even when you’re out of the property , to help keep your property warm and prevent pipes from freezing.

#3 Bleed your radiators

Trapped air causes radiators to have cold spots, reducing their efficiency. You can bleed your radiators yourself using a radiator key or a flat screwdriver (depending on your valve type) and slowly turning the valve counter clockwise until water starts dripping out. This will release trapped air and let hot water in – giving you a warmer property and saving you money.

#4 Be prepared

Make sure you know where your stop tap is (most are under the kitchen sink), as you may need to turn your water off quickly if your pipes freeze or burst. It's also a good idea to have the name and number of a qualified plumber to hand so if your pipes do freeze or burst you can call them straight away.

To find an approved plumber in your area, we recommend WaterSafe – a one-stop shop which brings together thousands of qualified plumbers. Visit or call 0333 207 9030.

You can also pop one of our handy tags around your stop tap once you've located it. These include a space to write your plumbers name, so you don’t have to go looking in an emergency. Download yours for free here.

#5 Service your boiler

We know you've got other important things on your mind, but it's really important to get your boiler serviced regularly if you can. We recommend you do this about once a year. Lots of modern boilers also have a frost setting, which is great for preventing frozen pipes when your central heating is not in full use.

What to do in an emergency

If your pipes have burst

  1. Turn off your stop tap
  2. Turn off electrics at the fuse box if water is leaking near any electrical appliances
  3. Open all taps to drain the system quickly
  4. Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels
  5. Call a qualified plumber. To find your nearest WaterSafe accredited plumber visit
  6. If water has leaked near your electrics or into any electrical appliances, switch them off at the mains
  7. Turn off taps once the pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding

If your pipes have frozen

  1. Turn off the water supply at the stop tap
  2. Slowly thaw the pipe with a warm towel (we recommend using your tumble dryer or soaking them in warm water) or a hairdryer, starting at the end nearest to the tap. Never use a naked flame or blowtorch

South East Water© All rights reserved. Company number: 02679874
Registered address: South East Water, Rocfort Road, Snodland, Kent, ME6 5AH