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Prevention, Leak Detection and Repair of burst and frozen water pipes

Due to the prolonged cold spell with sub zero temperatures frozen and burst water pipes are becoming a problem. SES LTD have provided householders and commercial premises with a number of tips on how to decrease the risk of pipes becoming frozen and resulting in leaks.

The first course of action is prevention. A property owner can decrease the risk of frozen pipes by undertaking a variety of measures including:

  1. Increasing the temperature in the attic by opening the attic trap door to allow heat from the house to circulate in the attic space or by leaving the attic light on.
  2. Increasing the room temperature in the house or business premises by placing your heating on a timer to allow it to come on intermittently for short periods. This is particularly important during the night.
  3. Insulating the external stopcock which is located outside your property by placing foam or carpet over it, or by placing rags or cloths in the stop cock chamber. Remember any measures carried out must be completed in a manner which is safe and does not create a hazard for you or the general public.
  4. If you own a house or a business premises that is currently closed or unoccupied, visit the property and check the heating system is set to heat the property.
  5. Farmers should check outlying farm buildings and other remote properties for leaks and regularly check service pipes to water troughs.
  6. Before the end of the cold spell all property owners should familiarise themselves with the location of their external stopcock outside their property and know how to turn off their water supply. A domestic internal stopcock is generally found underneath the kitchen sink. This can be important if a pipe bursts. Turning off the water promptly as soon as a burst pipe is detected will limit potential damage, particularly from the attic.

How do I know i have a leak?

  1. The first step is to locate the water meter(generally found near the boundary of the premises).
  2. When your premises are not in use, turn off all water fittings, including taps and cisterns. Remember to turn the fittings back on when the test is complete.
  3. Take a reading from your water meter. Note the figure and the date and time. If you have more than one meter, take note of all meter readings.
  4. If possible leave your water fittings turned off for a few hours, e.g. overnight or over a few days or at the weekend.
  5. After this period take note of the meter reading. There should be no difference in the meter readings at the start and the end of the leak test.

If there is a significant increase between the start and the end of the test, then you may have a leak in your system. You will need to get specialist help to find the source of the leak using specialist leak detection methods.



You are responsible for maintaining all of the pipes and fittings within the boundary of your premises. It is in your interest to fix any leaks as soon as possible, as you will be billed for the water wasted.

If you are concerned regarding a domestic or commercial water leak contact SES LTD for a free consultation on 0818 288 050.

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