Meeting the challenges of the thaw, but asking customers to use water wisely
4th March 2018
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The departing sub-zero temperatures across the region as left us a number of rolling issues working their way up from Cornwall and now into Devon.


Our teams have been working around the clock for the last 72hrs in difficult conditions to identify and deal with the issues affecting customers supply.  Our efforts have been hampered by the adverse weather and extreme conditions we are working under. The issues are region wide, but the situation has improved in Cornwall as our teams get on top of detecting and repairing major leaks.


Customer Services Manager Jo Ecroyd said: “During very cold weather, frozen pipes can be a problem for our customers. But with the thaw we have seen a rise in the number of burst pipes both on our customers’ own pipe work and across the mains network.


“Customers can help themselves and us by identifying whether the problem is inside their house or not. If the leak or burst is on their own pipes, the best thing to do is to call a plumber. However if you and your neighbours are out of water or losing pressure, that could be a sign of a burst or leaking mains pipe and we need to hear about it to start helping you.


“We are very aware that some of our customers have already experienced interruptions to their water supplies caused by burst mains which we are managing to repair, but due to the large number of bursts it is making progress slow.”

“Currently we have supplied alternative water supplies at locations in the Bradworthy, Kilkhampton, Woolfardisworthy and Hartland areas which have no water, find out more here and via our In Your Area service.”

“As we locate and undertake repairs we may need to interrupt water supplies, but we will update all impacted areas.


“Where customers are out of water for significant periods because of bursts on our network, we are contacting customers who we are aware need water for medical conditions and arranging to deliver bottled water where possible.


“We would also like to ask customers to check their own pipe work for leaks or if their outside taps may have been left running by the freezing conditions.”


If you need to report a burst main or leaking pipe outside your home, please call South West Water on 0344 346 2020. If you have leaking water or frozen and burst pipes inside your property please call a local plumber.


What to do if you discover a problem:


  1. If you don't have any water check with neighbours. If they still have water, your pipes may be frozen
  2. Check pipes for signs of a split - a leak or burst will not occur until the water has thawed
  3. Turn off the supply using the internal stop tap
  4. If the central heating and any other water heating appliances are already on, keep on. However, if they are currently turned off do not be tempted to switch them on to thaw frozen pipes as this could cause damage.
  5. Drain the cold water system only by flushing the toilet and opening cold taps over sinks and baths
  6. If you don't find any damage, turn on all the taps and thaw the frozen pipe using a warm towel or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel
  7. When the pipes have thawed and you're sure no damage or leak has occurred, turn off the taps and slowly switch the supply back using the internal stop tap
  8. Check the pipes again now that they are under pressure and check again for signs of damage or a leak before switching on water heating appliances
  9. If you discover a leak or burst pipe, call a reputable plumber immediately. South West Water supports approved contractor schemes and a list of approved contractors can be found on the WaterSafe website or by calling 0333 207 9030.

There is more cold weather advice on the South West Water website: 


About the Author

Colin S

Member since: 27th February 2014

Hi, I am Colin Slade, I am the New Business Manager here at thebestof Exeter and I handle lots of the PR and News stories for our clients

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