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Page last updated at 07:49 GMT, Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Hot tips for frozen water pipes in snow and ice
Freezing temperatures have frozen water inside pipes
Freezing temperatures have frozen water inside pipes

As the cold weather really bites, water bosses are offering advice on how to prevent frozen pipes this winter.

United Utilities received 1500 calls on Monday from people around the North West who needed advice about water pipes.

They have issued a checklist of how to thaw pipes correctly and restore your water supply during the cold snap.

A spokesman for the company said the problem lies with the customers' own supplies.

The issue is not with the water supply network so there is little the water company can do other than offer advice.

Check with neighbours

They say if you have no water, check whether the problem is affecting your neighbours before contacting United Utilities: "If your neighbours' water is flowing, the water network on your street is ok, and it's more likely that your pipe internally has frozen overnight."

Thawing your pipes can take some time but it is possible to help yourself.

First, locate your main stop tap. It is usually under the kitchen sink or in a utility room closest to where the water supply enters your property.

Apply a hot water bottle to the pipe or use a hairdryer in short bursts. Never use a naked flame near the pipes.

Once pipes are thawed it is essential people properly insulate them as soon as possible to stop it happening again.

The company also advises leaving your heating on: "Even if you turn the central heating down to its lowest, you will find that helps to keep the pipes running."

The information is also available on United Utilites' website, which also contains details about the operation of your heating system while the pipework is frozen.


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