NW business owners urged to keep an eye out for frozen pipes

With many businesses across the North West closed due to England’s new national lockdown rules, water company United Utilities fears business premises left empty during the winter could be at risk of freezing pipes.

As further restrictions have been imposed across the country, United Utilities is asking owners of businesses that are going to be closed for a prolonged time to take action and check that their business is wrapped up and ready for winter to avoid the risk of frozen and burst pipes.

“Often frozen pipes don’t reveal themselves until they thaw. Therefore it’s not too late to check on your premises before the forecasted thaw kicks in this weekend and you can get the stop tap turned off and avoid a lot of damage,” explained Paul Stelfox who heads United Utilities’ market services team.

“We know many business owners currently have a lot to deal with, but we want to remind them it’s important during this time of year to check any exposed water pipes or taps to prevent a tremendous amount of inconvenience and expense.

“Shops and other properties left empty during periods of very cold weather can be at risk. Once the water in your pipes turns to ice it can cause a burst, and you might not know until the day you get back to work,” he said.

The best way to avoid the headache of ruined equipment and premises is to insulate your pipes. Wrap your pipes with lagging and pay particular attention to the pipes in cold areas, such as a garage, cellar or those outside your business, as these are the ones most likely to freeze when the temperature drops.

There are several precautions to take to protect pipes from freezing and United Utilities’ offers the following PIPE advice:
• P is for prepare – know where your stop tap is and check it works.  Have a number of a plumber at hand or check if a water pipe leak or burst is covered on your business insurance.
• I is for insulate – insulate pipes in cold places like outside or in a garage.
• P is for protect – any other exposed equipment, such as outside taps with an insulated cover.
• E is for easy – do it because it’s easy, cheap and we’ll show you how on our website.

"Keep an eye on the temperature over the lockdown period and if it’s safe to do so, check your premises on a regular basis. If your taps aren't running, it could mean your pipes are frozen and that's the first sign that you might have a burst. Switch your stop tap off and have the number of a good plumber to hand," said Paul.

For more information, on how easy it is to protect your property this winter, visit unitedutilities.com/winterwise