Freezing Weather Prompts Protect Your Pipes Warning

Scottish Water is urging homeowners and businesses to protect properties against the winter weather as the country experiences freezing weather conditions.

With temperatures forecast to be colder in Scotland than on Mount Everest for much of this week as the result of an Arctic “snowbomb”, the utility is calling on customers across Scotland to follow a simple code to protect pipes, and reduce the risk of them becoming frozen during sub-zero temperatures.

Scottish Water’s winter campaign focuses on reminding property owners that water pipes can be at risk if the temperature falls below freezing and highlights a three-step guide which can help prevent the misery, inconvenience and cost of frozen pipes.

The Scottish Water Winter Code advises anyone with a home, holiday home or business premises to take action to heat, insulate and protect their properties, whether the property is old or new, during cold weather.

Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Farrer, said: “We’re currently experiencing a period of freezing weather conditions which could place property and pipes at risk if appropriate precautions are not taken.

“Anyone who has returned to their house or work to find everything ankle deep in freezing water with carpets, furniture and equipment all ruined, will know only too well of the misery a burst pipe in winter can cause.

“But by taking action to heat, insulate and protect properties, customers can avoid the considerable headache and heartache caused by burst pipes. We want to work with our customers to ensure we are all prepared for whatever winter weather we get.

“Preventing frozen pipes also means we all play a part in ensuring the water cycle never stops. Water is a precious resource and Scottish Water puts a lot of work into keeping it that way. Water pouring straight back into the drains as a result of a burst pipe that could have been prevented costs us all money.”

The key advice in our winter code is:

Heat: Warmth offers the best protection against frozen pipes, so when temperatures are low leave your heating on a low setting, or set it to come on a couple of times a day.

Insulate: Pipes don’t like the cold – whether they are outdoor or indoor, metal or plastic, new or old. Making sure pipes and water tanks are properly insulated is one of the simplest, and cheapest, things which can be done to help protect properties from the cold. Make sure that there are no gaps at bends, valves or fitting, and that you use a suitable insulation material.

Protect: If you are going away, make sure you have someone who can check regularly for any problems. Dripping water increases the risk of freezing, so have any drips or leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them, and reduce draughts by fitting draught excluders to doors and windows. If the property is going to be vacant over winter, turn off the water supply and drain the system.

Due to low temperatures, frozen pipes often occur on the supply pipe at the connection to the stop valve in the street outside properties or located on pipes under the kitchen sink inside properties.

Scottish Water’s advice is to try to get warm or hot air to the pipes inside the property.

Even when your home or property is protected sometimes damages can happen, so make sure you have adequate buildings and content insurance.

Scottish Water is also urging holiday home owners to follow the winter code. If your home or property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system – a licensed plumber will be able to give advice about this.

Other important winter advice includes tips on finding and using your stop valve, keeping a small emergency pack handy, and be a good neighbour and keep an eye out for your neighbours including the elderly and those who might need additional support.

Scottish Water is also offering a free quick reminder stop valve sticker, where you can write the name and contact number of your local licensed plumber so that it is handy in case of an emergency.

As one of the largest businesses in Scotland, Scottish Water is also taking steps across its operation to ensure it is well equipped to continue delivering the best service it can in the event of a severe winter. Our employees work around the clock to maintain drinking water supplies to 2.5 million households and 156,000 business premises.

Visit for more winter information, advice and films. 

For the free stop valve sticker :

Email, or write to Customer Marketing, Free Stop Valve Sticker, PO Box 8855, Edinburgh EH10 6YQ

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and use hashtag #SWwinter

Customers can also sign up to receive free texts (SMS)* to keep up to date about our work or service updates, such as having no water supply, in your area – please text ‘Update’ with your postcode to 82228.  * For more info and T&Cs visit