Wrap up your pipes this winter, the experts warn

Yorkshire Water. At a burst water main in Boothtown are Matt Thompson, Pat Geraghty, Matt Butterfield, Andrew Goddard and Simon Cosgrove.
Yorkshire Water. At a burst water main in Boothtown are Matt Thompson, Pat Geraghty, Matt Butterfield, Andrew Goddard and Simon Cosgrove.

A campaign has been launched as part of a £3.5 billion investment to encourage people to protect their pipes this winter.

Last year saw the coldest winter for 31 years, with temperatures in West Yorkshire dropping to a staggering minus 17.5 degrees.

The freezing water coupled with several feet of snow stretched the region’s 100-year-old water systems to bursting point.

Yorkshire Water received 50,000 calls last December, compared to the 6,000 they would expect, and repaired 2,200 burst pipes, nearly four times as many as usual. Now the firm has launched its wrap up campaign, part of a multi-billion pound, five-year scheme to improve the region’s underground water supply.

Since November, £39million has been invested in replacing or relining hundreds of pipes across Yorkshire, including Halifax.

Matt Thompson, campaigns and media relations advisor from Yorkshire Water, said it was important people took steps to protect their homes.

“The wrap it up campaign is designed to save people time and money,” he said. “We want to give people the advice they need to try and prepare for a cold snap.”

Customers are advised to wrap their pipes in lagging to stop them freezing, which Yorkshire Water are giving away free via their website.

Other tips include knowing where the stop tap is and keeping the heating on a low setting if you’re leaving the house for a few days.

Yorkshire Water is not responsible for repairing or replacing water pipes within houses, but Mr Thompson said last winter they did everything they could to help.

“Last winter we went above and beyond and helped where we could,” he said. “If we were nearby we went in and tried to help out. It was a heroic effort from the whole team.”

“Some of the pipes running across Halifax are hundreds of years old and made out of metal, so they don’t have any flexibility. When they freeze they can burst, which is why we’re replacing them with plastic ones which will be able to survive the cold.

“We’ve also installed pressure monitors in our pipes because most leaks are not visible, and use GPS systems to locate leaks. But we also use the age-old method of listening rods to find bursts.”

Jason Griffin, leakage performance manager in Halifax, said: “We’ve split Halifax into more manageable leakage areas which gives us a better chance of reaching the leak if there is a problem.”

If you think you have a leak or to get your free lagging, call Yorkshire Water on 0800573553 or visit www.yorkshirewater.co.uk/wrapup.