My water supply

Plummeting temperatures can cause exposed pipework to freeze and in some cases burst.

This is not just inconvenient – having cold water leak all over your home is expensive and can ruin treasured items.

It's quick and easy to prevent this damage - by giving your home a hug for winter - it could help save hundreds of pounds in repairing damage to flooring or furniture. Data from the Association of British Insurers shows that during a spell of freezing weather, a claim to repair a burst pipe costs an average of £8,800 – and can often be more.

Top tips

Here are our top tips from Captain Efficient. Please check that your home is ready and ask your relatives to check too.

Winter graphic

H: Heat your home

❄️ Don’t let your home get too cold.

Graphics stating "keep your home heated"

Keep the heat on in very frosty conditions.
  • Set your thermostat to keep a low level of heat (no lower than 14ºC) throughout the night and while you are out during the day.
  • If you're worried about your bills, contact Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444 or visit the Citizens Advice website or the Energy Saving Trust.

Check your radiators 
  • If they aren’t heating all the way to the top, they could have air in them and need bleeding.
  • You'll need a radiator key (available from a DIY shop) to open the little valve at the top, or on the side.
  • Make sure your heating is off and the radiators are cool.
  • Hold a cloth next to the valve as you turn the key and listen out for the air hissing.
  • As soon as you see a drip of water, close it up again.

Check your boiler 
  • Have your boiler serviced, so you know your heating will work properly.

Minimise draughts 
  • Close doors and windows in unheated parts of the property.

U: Understand your stop tap (where is it and how do you use it?)
❄️ Find out where your stop taps are and how to use them

Graphic stating "Know your stop tap"

Repair costs can be significantly reduced if the stop tap is used to turn off the water as quickly as possible – so knowing where your stop tap is and checking it regularly to make sure it is working is essential.

Find your stop tap

  • Inside stop taps are usually under the kitchen sink, or in a downstairs toilet or cupboard - you will need it if you have a burst.

Check your stop tap is working.

  • If you can’t turn the tap - you may have to call a plumber for help.  Contact a Watersafe approved plumber.

Fix dripping taps

  • Even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe. 

G: Get your pipes lagged
❄️ Insulate all cisterns, water tanks and exposed pipework

Graphic stating "Insulate external pipes with lagging"

Lag all exposed pipes

  • Lagging will prevent them freezing - if they freeze, they might burst. 
  • It’s easier to lag your pipes than deal with a burst pipe.
  • Foam lagging can be bought cheaply from DIY shops or online  or you  can claim free lagging from Get Water Fit.
  • Make sure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings.
  • Find out how to lag your pipes in this video from Waterwise.

Insulate water tanks

  • Lagging water tanks reduces the amount of heat lost, so you spend less money heating water up, and hot water stays hotter for longer.
  • Do not insulate beneath water tanks in the loft as this will prevent warm air getting to them and could cause freezing.


By taking a few simple steps we can all help protect against the cold weather this winter – so go on, give your a home a hug!

Involve your kids

Can you challenge your kids to give your home a hug and check it's winter ready? Or check out our home-learning resources on the wonderful world of water.

Useful links