Welsh Water advises businesses to protect premises against costly bursts

1 February 2024

With the Met Office seeing ‘increasing likelihood of winds from the north or east, which will increase the chance of some colder spells and perhaps snow’ in February, Welsh Water is urging customers to act now and prepare their premises to protect against costly frozen and burst pipes.

When the temperatures drop, water in pipes and taps can freeze. As the water freezes it expands and can crack even in the strongest metal pipe, which customers may only notice is a problem when the cracked pipe thaws and water starts leaking from it.

Businesses such as industrial units, caravan parks, schools, community centres and places of worship are particularly vulnerable to burst pipes during the winter. These kinds of buildings regularly have pipes and taps outdoors, and are often empty for days, meaning a burst pipe, inside or outside the building can easily go unnoticed and cause flooding or leak huge amounts of water.

Philip Southern, Energy Conservation Surveyor at Flintshire County Council said: "With climate change leading to increasingly unpredictable weather, it’s become so important to make sure all our sites across Flintshire are protected in the winter period.

“We would strongly encourage businesses to ensure that their pipes are insulated to lessen the risk of them freezing which can lead to bursts – resulting not only in unwanted callouts, but also a larger-than-usual water bill coming through the post at a later date.”

With the continued rising cost of living this year, many businesses may be using their heating less, which may increase the risk of frozen pipes. Welsh Water is offering a limited amount of free lagging kits, available by contacting campaigns@dwrcymru.com.

Welsh Water’s Operational Services Director, Kit Wilson said,"The main problems I see in extreme freezing weather is frozen or burst outside pipes. This causes significant disruption to businesses’ water supplies. It’s crucial at this time of year, especially now as temperatures may fall again, that people protect their buildings, sites and offices, and are prepared if an emergency occurs.

“Customers can insulate outside pipes, clear gutters, consider draining exposed external pipes, and in the case of emergency know where their stop tap is and have a plumber contact detail to hand."

For more useful hints and tips from Welsh Water on how customers can protect themselves from the risk of frozen or burst pipes, visit  business.dwrcymru.com/GetWinterReady.