Top tips for winter

Don’t freeze up!
During spells of severe cold it is possible for water pipes in your home to freeze. This may lead to a burst pipe when the thaw sets in.

This can damage your home and belongings. With these simple precautions you can reduce the risk, or deal with burst pipes.

You can find out more about reporting a repair during the winter months by viewing this short video on our YouTube channel

Follow these tips to protect your home from the worst of the winter weather

  • Keep your home as warm as possible, even when you are out, by setting the heating to come on for short periods
  • If you can, lift the trap door to the roof space slightly to allow warm air to circulate
  • Open the doors to the sink unit to allow air to circulate around the pipes
  • Allow warm air to circulate around the house by opening doors to all rooms
  • If you are away from home, ensure the heating comes on for regular intervals and ask someone to check regularly for frozen pipes

If your water supply fails, there may be a burst pipe in your home, or a leak in the mains system outside your home.

If there is water at the kitchen cold tap then the mains supply is working. If you think it is a mains problem, call NI Water on 03457 440 088 or email:

  • Turn the water off at the stopcock
  • Protect everything around the pipe that appears to be frozen to avoid damage if it bursts
  • Open the tap nearest to the part of the pipe you think is frozen so the water can flow through when it has thawed
  • Thaw the ice in the pipe with a hot water bottle or hairdryer (taking care to keep it well away from any water), beginning from the tap end and working back towards the cold water tank
  • Never use a heat gun or blow torch
  • If you have a solid fuel room heater, or an open fire with a back boiler, you should let your fire go out
  • If you have oil, gas or wood pellet boilers you should reduce your water usage, but you can continue to run your heating at a low setting

  • Turn off the water at the stopcock
  • Turn on all the cold taps and collect water in the bath or sink to use for flushing the toilet later
  • Block the escaping water with towels
  • If the water has come into contact with electrics the electricity should be turned off at the mains if it is safe to do so
  • If water has come into contact with the Mains Box, do not attempt to touch it and do not use any electrical equipment in the house
  • Turn off your gas or oil heating systems
  • If you have a solid fuel room heater or an open fire, let it go out

  • Remember, everyone in your locality will be feeling the effects of bad weather, and some people may be anxious or feel isolated.

  • Try to stay in contact with your neighbours and help out if you can.

The stopcock is used for turning the cold water off and on. When you turn the stopcock clockwise the water supply will stop.

Stopcocks are usually found in your kitchen, below the sink unit. However in some houses the stopcock is found in a front or back hall.

It is important you know where the stopcock is - watch the video below to learn more.

Fire safety