Beat the freeze logo tree and snow drops
Winter weather can freeze pipes - cutting off your water supply or even causing your pipes to burst.

A burst pipe can be costly to fix but there's plenty you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing. Follow our handy guide to protect your home and stay safe in the cold weather.

How to stop your pipes from freezing 
  • Keep an eye out for any exposed pipes, taps and tanks in unheated areas that might be exposed to cold temperatures - such as in your garage or your loft space
  • You can buy cheap lagging from DIY stores and wrap them around your pipes to protect them. They look like foam tubes and are very simple to cut up and pop around your pipes
  • Keep your home heated. If you can, try and keep your heating on constantly at a low temperature, especially during cold spells
  • Fix dripping taps
  • If you’re leaving your house for a few days, leave your heating on low
  • If you’re leaving your property empty for a long time, turn off the stop tap
  • Make sure you know where your stop tap is and that it is working. 
  • Check your boiler has been serviced and make sure there’s no leaks
  • Minimise draughts from doors and windows
  • If you need to do a self-leak test, click here
  • Sign up for pipe insurance with Homeserve
What to do if your pipes are frozen
  • First turn off the water supply with the stop tap
  • Then check if the pipe has burst
  • Open the affected taps and heat gently with a hair dryer, hot water bottle or towels soaked in hot water
  • Do not use a blowtorch or anything with a naked flame to thaw the pipe
What to do if you have a burst pipe
  • Turn off the stop tap and boiler. Then open all taps to drain the system
  • If it’s near electrical points, switch the electrics off at the mains
  • Check your home insurance for cover
  • You can also visit or call 0333 207 9030, to find an approved, local plumber
What to do if you spot a leak

If you’re out and about, please help us spot leaks. The extreme cold temperatures and thaw can cause cracks, leaks and bursts. If you spot any leaks, please report it so they can can be fixed. 


Essex & Suffolk water own the water pipes which run beneath the street up to the point where it meets your property plus the meter or stop tap outside your property, so any leaks are down to us to repair.


Once the pipework crosses the boundary it becomes the responsibility of the owner, whether it's a leak on the pipe beneath a private driveway or somewhere in the property itself. Some older properties share water supply pipes, which generally means that the responsibility for repairing it would be shared between you and your neighbours.


If you've got a leak in your home, or on your land, you'll need to get it fixed.

You can find a list of approved, local plumbers at

We've got more information about leaks and how to report a leak here.

If you are a business, call us on 0800 028 3557 or visit to find out more on how to beat the freeze.

When the cold hits, the lower temperatures can cause the ground surrounding pipes to move and stresses the joints causing them to leak. The colder it gets, the more likely this is to happen. There are 5,400 miles of pipework in Essex & Suffolk with millions of joints holding them together.


Over time and with the cold water, joints can lock or tension can build up which causes pipes to crack. We move around 470 million litres of water every day, so even a small crack can cause problems. That’s why our team are on hand, come rain or shine, with a dedicated leakage team to help.


The cold weather will affect your home pipes the same way. It can also freeze the water inside which prevents water flowing to your taps. Our handy and simple tips above do make a difference and can help you to protect your home.

Essex & Suffolk Water continue to fix leaks in a timely manner and prioritise any leaks that have the danger of freezing – preventing slips and trips in the icy conditions. If you see any leaks when out and about this winter, then please help to report a leak here.

Our free Priority Services helps give you extra support when you need it. This could be due to age, disability, mobility, illness, mental health, communication needs, life changes (such as pregnancy) or if you have children under the age of five. 


Sign up online at

Useful links