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Get the know-how to avoid the misery of burst pipes

As the Met Office predicts cold, arctic air will soon hit the UK, WaterSafe is advising households on how to prevent, and deal with, burst or frozen water pipes.

Research by WaterSafe, the national register of approved plumbers, shows 15 per cent of UK residents have had a burst pipe in winter, when freezing temperatures can cause pipes to split.

Additionally, the Association of British Insurers reports the average cost of a weather-related home insurance claim for burst pipes is a costly £9,300.

Julie Spinks, Director at WaterSafe, says prevention is key: “The best thing you can do to prevent pipes from bursting in the first place is to use insulation to protect pipes from the cold.

“You should do this in unheated areas of the home, like lofts, as well as insulating your outside tap.

“It’s also crucial to know in advance where your stop tap is and how to use it, so you can quickly turn your tap water supply off in an emergency.  This is usually located under your kitchen sink, but can be in a cupboard, under the stairs or even in a garage.

“If a pipe does burst, you should turn the water off using your stop tap and call a WaterSafe-approved emergency plumber for advice.

“If you need to thaw a frozen pipe, you can use a hot water bottle to do this once you’ve isolated your water supply, starting with the end nearest the tap.”

For further advice on winter-proofing your plumbing, or to find an approved plumber, visit