Southern Water – Keeping a Weather Eye

A Message From Joel Hufford, Stakeholder Engagement Manager (Sussex) – Southern Water

Cold weather can cause pipes to freeze and burst, so it’s best to be prepared.

Taking simple measures, including lagging pipes and checking your internal stop-tap works, in case of an emergency, will help keep you and your home safe this winter.

Find out more online at:

In an emergency

If your pipes do freeze:

1.Turn off the water supply at the stop-tap straight away

2.Don’t switch on your boiler or immersion heater

3.Open the nearest tap and gently heat any frozen sections of pipe with a hot cloth or hot water bottle, working from the tap backwards

4.Never use a naked flame to defrost pipes. It’s a fire hazard and can cause more damage to your water system.

If your pipes burst

Water pipes in homes are the property owner’s responsibility, so if you notice a burst or leak at home:

1.Shut off your water supply and then open all hot and cold taps until they run dry

2.Switch off your mains electricity supply

3.Try to temporarily fix the burst pipe by binding it tightly with cloth, tape or using a pipe clamp

4.Call a qualified plumber and turn off all taps until the pipe is repaired.

Top tips to prepare your home for the cold

Insulate water tanks and pipes

Use pipe lagging / jackets or insulation to prevent any exposed or unheated water tanks or pipes from freezing. Think lofts, garages and also garden taps. When insulating, make sure there are no gaps in the lagging.

Fix dripping taps

In cold temperatures, even a small trickle can cause water in the pipe to freeze.

Find your internal stop-tap

Find the stop-tap in your property and make sure you can turn it off. Most stop-taps are fitted under the kitchen sink or stairs and can be turned off by turning them clockwise.

Service your boiler

Have your boiler serviced regularly (usually every year) to keep it working as efficiently as possible and avoid it breaking down during cold weather.

Block breezes and draughts

Minimise draughts and shut doors and windows to unheated parts of the home. If your property is going to be empty for long periods, turn off the water at the stop-tap and consider draining your pipes (by opening your taps while the stop tap is off).

We’re doing our bit to fix external leaks. If you spot a leak when you’re out and about, please tell us about it via or call our freephone Leak Line on tel 0800 820 999.