Research from polling company YouGov found that nearly a quarter of people in Wales had experienced frozen pipes in their home before, while 16% had experienced a burst pipe - which can cost thousands of pounds worth of damage.
It also found that nearly 40% of people didn't know how to lag exposed pipes - which are most susceptible to freezing - and a total of 63% had never attempted this before.
When temperatures drop, the water in your pipes and taps can freeze. Frozen water expands and can crack even in the strongest metal pipe. You may not notice this immediately, and only know you have a problem when the cracked pipe thaws and water starts leaking from it.
Pipes and taps that are outdoors or in cold places like a loft or garage, are more susceptible to freezing and bursting and can leave homes and businesses with no water, no heating, or a costly flood.
To prevent freezing pipes, Welsh Water is encouraging customers act now and wrap their pipes with a lagging kit. Welsh Water is offering a limited number of free lagging kits to customers to protect exposed pipes and outdoor taps, which can be found here.
Lucy, Welsh Water customer and mum of two from Cardiff told us:
"Last winter during the February freeze, our boiler broke down for three days leaving us without heating and hot water while I was heavily pregnant and looking after my toddler. We called a plumber out, who said there was nothing he could do because our pipes had frozen due to the cold weather and that we'd have to wait for the ice to thaw before the boiler would be able to work again. I'd urge anyone to prepare their home and wrap their pipes with a lagging kit. Luckily our boiler was working well after the ice obstruction was removed, but I'll be more careful this winter."
Latest figures from Go Compare, the insurance comparison site, reveal that between January and August 2021, of the people who ran a home insurance quote via GoCompare and declared they had a claim, 25% of those claims were for escape of water.
Ian Christie, Welsh Water's Managing Director of Water Services, said:
“As a company, we have been doing all we can to prepare for the colder months including briefing staff for cold weather precautions, preparing our 4x4 fleets for extreme weather conditions, loading our tankers in case of an emergency and making our customers aware of how they can help us keep the water flowing too.
“It’s important that our customers are prepared for the winter months so that they can avoid costly bursts and leaks and so that we can manage pressures across the network.
“That is why we’re asking people to check that their home or business is wrapped up and ready for winter by getting any outdoor pipes or taps lagged with a kit. It could help prevent a tremendous amount of inconvenience and expense – at the time of the year when you’d least want to face it. We’re offering several lagging kits to customers to help them prepare, by wrapping their pipes before it gets too cold.
“Our teams will be working 24/7 to keep things flowing, but we also need a little help from our customers, by making sure their homes and businesses are ready for winter.”
When a problem occurs on pipes in homes, it is the responsibility of the homeowner or landlord and so it’s important that people prepare their homes so that they are ready for the cold winter months. The advice is also relevant to any type of property, such as holiday homes, caravans, schools or factories, which might be left empty for a period of time over the winter.
For more advice and how-to videos, visit: https://www.dwrcymru.com/en/winter-ready