The message to take action now comes as part of the Government’s Get Ready for Winter Campaign, with WaterSafe and SESW urging homeowners to wrap up their homes with pipe lagging and insulation to stay safe and healthy this winter.
Mel Harrowsmith, Head of Civil Contingencies at the Met Office, said: “While it’s too early to predict what weather this winter will bring, the Get Ready for Winter pages are designed to provide useful information that helps the UK public to be prepared and safe during the winter months, whatever the weather.
“We can't change the weather but we can encourage everyone to make the most of it using our accurate forecasts and advice from our partners around the country.”
There are lots of simple steps households can take to prepare for a cold winter and now is a great time to get ahead and make sure homes are snug.
However, research shows, despite 91 per cent of households in the South East saying they know water pipes can freeze and burst in cold weather, only 12 per cent insulate their pipes and only a quarter have a plumber’s number to hand in case of emergencies.
SESW, the Met Office and WaterSafe, the register for approved plumbing businesses in the UK, have put together a list of top tips to help homeowners and businesses beat the winter blues:
Wrap up pipes and water tanks with lagging – DIY stores have everything you need
Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe
Find your home’s stop tap and make sure you can turn it off – most are under the kitchen sink
Leave the heating on low if you go away
Check your central heating boiler has been serviced
Keep the name of a plumber handy – type in your postcode at watersafe.org.uk to find your nearest accredited plumbing business.
Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe, said: “If the worst happens and you do have a burst pipe, then turn off the water at the stop tap, allow the thawed water to escape through your tap as normal and call a plumber who is qualified to work with the drinking water in your home.”
Households looking for a trusted plumber to help them this winter are advised to use the online directory WaterSafe, which is backed by all water companies in the UK.
Damian Crawford, SESW Network Services Manager, said: “We want all our customers to stay safe and warm this winter and a few simple steps to wrap up homes now will help ensure a stress-free festive season and avoid wasted time and money mopping up floods and going without water.
“Don’t forget to keep an eye on family, friends and vulnerable neighbours too and if you’re out and about and spot a leaking pipe then please report it to our customer services team by calling 01737 772000.”
The Wrap up for Winter is part of a wider Government campaign - find out more at metoffice.gov.uk/getreadyforwinter.