Protect your pipes in winter months

Scottish Water has launched its new campaign to encourage its customers to ensure homes and businesses across Scotland are protected and prepared for the winter.

Communities throughout the country are being urged to follow Scottish Water’s winter code - a set of simple steps to protect your pipes, be prepared and heat, insulate and protect your home and business.

The Protect your pipes - Be prepared message is being promoted through three Highway Code-style signs which highlight the need to take measures to ensure peace of mind ahead of extreme cold weather conditions.

Scottish Water’s campaign will encourage people to protect their pipes and property and advise them what to do to prevent a burst or frozen pipe, how to locate their stop valve, what to do in an emergency and how Scottish Water can help.

The campaign, which is being supported by Sean Batty, the STV weather forecaster, is being spread through a range of measures including advertising, leaflets, videos, social media channels and partnerships with a range of bodies, such as landlord and housing associations and plumbers’ federation SNIPEF.

Scottish Water is also implementing various initiatives to ensure it is well equipped to continue to deliver the best service it can in the event of another severe winter.

Last year’s unprecedented winter – which included the coldest December on record – saw Scottish Water having to repair around 2000 bursts and answering more than 40,000 calls between Christmas Eve and New Year, when 7500 calls would normally be expected.

However, Scottish Water maintained supply to well over 99 per cent of its 2.4 million household customers.

Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Customer Service Delivery Director, said: “Customers who take action now to heat, insulate and protect their properties can avoid considerable headache and heartache.

“Our winter campaign aims to inform our customers, homeowners and businesses about the importance of acting now to protect their pipes to avoid the hardships that so many experienced last winter. Unfortunately, many customers found out last year that the real problems start when temperatures begin to rise again after such a cold snap. This can lead to pipes expanding and bursting.

“Very often people think it won’t happen to them, but there are few things more upsetting than coming home or into work to find everything ankle deep in freezing water and your carpets, furniture and equipment all ruined because of a burst pipe.

“So, while there’s no telling whether the extreme conditions could be repeated again this year, it is sensible for customers to start thinking about protecting their pipes now and make sure they are prepared.

“The message is very much that we want to work with our customers to ensure we are all prepared.”

Customers are being advised to follow Scottish Water’s winter code:- heat, insulate and protect your pipes; l eave your heating on at a low setting; if you are going away then make sure you have someone who can regularly check for any problems; if your property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system. A licensed plumber should be able to advise you about this; keep your insurance documents somewhere secure and water-tight so you can access them easily if needed; locate your stop valve; keep a note of the telephone number of a licensed plumber; keep a note of the Scottish Water Customer Helpline number – 0845 601 8855; be a good neighbour and keep an eye out for your neighbours, especially the frail and elderly or disabled.

While homeowners represent the biggest target audience, the campaign also focuses on the need for businesses, landlords and holiday home owners to safeguard their properties.

Visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/winter where you can find winter information, films and advice.