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Frozen pipes risk as temperatures drop

  • 7th January 2022
  • ·By Christine King
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With a cold snap here, South East Water is advising its customers to protect pipes and outside taps now to prevent domestic disaster

Unprotected water pipes in homes and businesses are at risk of freezing and bursting as the temperature drops which can result in extensive water damage throughout the property.

South East Water, which supplies 2.2 million customers across parts of Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Berkshire, says burst pipes are a very unpleasant and inconvenient problem. When they happen inside the home or in the boundary of a property they are usually the home owner’s responsibility to repair.

To help prevent burst water pipes, industry approved pipe lagging and outdoor tap protectors are available free from South East Water’s website or to buy from DIY stores.

A recent survey by UK plumbing register WaterSafe showed that 51 per cent* of people who responded from the South East of England had no idea of what to do in a water pipe emergency.

Steve Andrews, Head of Central Operations, said: “By insulating water pipes and outdoor taps now, this will help prevent them from freezing and bursting. Locating the internal stop tap is another winter task so water flowing into the property can be immediately shut off if a pipe does burst.

“We are also asking people to spread this message to their family, friends and neighbours to help them avoid further misery and expense cold weather can bring.”

Top advice in the event of a water pipe emergency includes:

  • Turn off the water supply coming into the property at the stop tap and switch off the boiler
  • Open all taps to drain the system as quickly as possible, saving some water in a bucket for flushing toilets and hand washing. When the water stops running, turn all the taps off
  • Soak up escaping water with towels to limit the damage
  • Call a WaterSafe approved plumber who is qualified to work on the plumbing system
  • If water has leaked near electrics, do not touch them and switch them off at the fuse box
  • Contact home insurance company who will advise on what to do next.

For the winter lagging kit, additional advice and a video on how to protect water pipes go to The name of a qualified plumber can be found at  or by calling call 0333 207 9030

Find out more about the #WeatherReady campaign, which is run by the Met Office in partnership with the Cabinet Office, at

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