AS temperatures are set to drop again and a noticeable spike in burst pipes coming from vacant properties, NI Water is reminding customers to check their vacant properties or outhouses for leaks.
“Temperatures are due to drop again and we are asking the public to prepare their properties against the effects of these freezing temperatures," says Des Nevin, NI Water’s Director of Customer and Operations.
“With the continued impact of Covid-19 on our community, it is more vital than ever that we protect our water supplies. This means taking action now to ensure pipes are lagged, inside and out, and everyone in the property knows where the stop valve is located.
"It is also vital you have a plan to ensure your property is protected if it had to close suddenly for a period of time due to current restrictions.
“We are also asking the public to check pipework within vacant buildings. With many offices left vacant and empty student accommodation, it is important those responsible check empty premises as soon as possible for frozen or burst pipes.
“Unlike previous years, when buildings and businesses would have been occupied in the lead up to Winter, the risk of frozen pipes will be exacerbated as, due to Coronavirus measures, many premises have not been occupied for long periods and will have no build-up of residual heat to protect pipes.
“We want customers to refrain from running taps and would encourage farmers to check drinking troughs for leaks.
“On a wider scale, the impact of thousands of litres of water pouring out of burst water pipes can put a huge strain on the distribution network.
"The Covid-19 crisis has shone a light directly on how vital clean water and sanitation are to everyone. Our staff are continuing to work, fixing burst watermains no matter the time or temperature. However, the public has an important role to play.”
There are lots of simple things that homes and businesses can do to protect pipes and there’s no time like the present while many of us are at home:
Wrap up pipes and water tanks with lagging – high street DIY stores have everything you need; the thicker the lagging the better the protection;
Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe;
Find your property’s stop valve and make sure you can turn it off – most are under the kitchen sink - if you have one of our stop valve tags, wrap this around it;
Keep the name of an approved plumber handy – type in your postcode at www.watersafe.org.uk to find your nearest accredited plumbing business.
If you want a little extra help preparing your home for frozen pipes, visit www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk and type in your postcode to order a FREE winter stop valve tag and flyer.
Visit niwater.com/winter-proof-your-home for further advice on how to protect your property this winter.