Hundreds call water company for advice as temperatures plummet


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View recent newsHundreds call water company for advice as temperatures plummet

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The extreme cold weather has led to a dramatic increase in people contacting Cambridge Water for advice about frozen and burst pipes.

As spokesman for Cambridge Water, said: “As temperatures have plummeted to as low as minus 14, hundreds of people from across the area have been calling for help and advice. Typically this is because the cold weather has frozen their pipes and they do not have a water supply coming through.

“However, in most cases there is not a lot we can do other than offer advice.

“Cambridge Water is responsible for the water supply up to the boundary of your property. If you notice a leak or burst main outside the boundary, you should contact us on 01223 706050 and we will investigate it and prioritise it for repair.

“However, if you have a frozen or burst pipe in your garden or home, this is your responsibility and you are advised to contact a plumber.”

For a list of local plumbers please visit:

To help customers protect their water supply, Cambridge Water is advising people to Check, Heat, Insulate, Lag and Locate pipework - or CHILL for short.

* Check - Make sure all exposed plumbing and pipework is drained down as much as possible and any dripping taps or overflows are fixed.

* Heat – Don’t let your property get too cold. Make sure it is insulated where possible and if very frosty conditions persist set your thermostat to maintain a low level of heat throughout the night and while you are out during the day.

* Insulate – Check that all cisterns and tanks in unheated areas like lofts are adequately insulated around the sides and on the cover. Don’t put insulation underneath as warm air from below will help prevent water from freezing.

* Lag - Ensure all exposed pipes are well lagged. Foam pipe lagging is readily available from most DIY stores and simple to fit. If you have any doubts consult a professional for advice.

* Locate – Locate, identify and label all stoptaps and valves. The main stoptap is often found under the kitchen sink. Check it is working by opening and closing it. You can use this to isolate the water supply to your house if there is a burst.

The spokesman added: “Frost damage to water pipes isn’t just inconvenient; it can also prove expensive in terms of the disruption it causes to homes and the amount of water wasted. Unfortunately, many people will not yet know that they have a problem with their pipework, because temperatures are still below freezing. It is only when the weather starts to warm up again and the pipes thaw, that many leaks and bursts will become evident.

To help customers protect their water supply, Cambridge Water has teamed up with the Cambridge branch of Homebase to offer free foam lagging. All customers have to do is go into the store on Newmarket Road, leave their name and address at the customer services desk and collect their free 5m foam pack.*

 *Pack contains five one metre strips of 22mm foam lagging. One per customer only. Subject to availability. For more details visit the Wrap up for Winter pages at

What to do if a pipe freezes:

■ Turn off the water supply at the stoptap.

■ Check to see if the pipe has burst.

■ Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest the tap. Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw the pipe.

■ Don’t leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen.

If a pipe bursts

■ Turn off the stoptap and boiler.

■ Open all taps to drain the system quickly.

■ Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels.

■ Call a qualified plumber. Local water industry recommended plumbers can be found at

■ If water has leaked near your electrics or into any electrical appliances, switch them off at the mains.

■ Turn off taps once pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding.

■ If you have your own plumber, make a note of their name and number below so you have it handy in an emergency.

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