Monday, 18 November 2013

From United Utilities to Hyndburn customers: Important advice on preventing frozen pipes

From: John Martin
Date: 15 November 2013 13:58:42 GMT
Subject: Important advice for constituents - freezing pipes

Dear Graham, with temperatures forecast to drop to -5°C in the North West next week, increasing the risk of household pipes bursting, we would be grateful if you could help promote United Utilities' Winterwise campaign.

It would be great if you could tweet or put information on your website over the next few days pointing people in the direction of our campaign webpage -

The advice on the website could help save your constituents hundreds of pounds by taking cheap, simple steps.

Research from United Utilities has revealed that fixing damage caused by frozen household pipes that have burst can cost individuals around £525. So, it's important people lag their pipes over the next few days before the cold snap hits.

We have attached the Winterwise press release for more details. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information.

Many thanks for your help.

John Martin
External Affairs Manager
Corporate Affairs
United Utilities
News from United Utilities
Tel: 0845 072 0822 Email:

Don't let frozen pipes knock Christmas out cold

A third of hard-pressed North West families could not afford to fix a burst pipe this winter, while one in fifty people say they'd need to cancel Christmas.

That's the shock finding of research by water company United Utilities, which is urging homeowners to take steps to protect themselves.

Fixing damage caused by frozen household pipes that have burst has cost North West homeowners around £578 million, making the average repair bill of an individual incidentan estimated £525.

But new research from United Utilities has revealed that one in three homeowners across the region would struggle to even cover the £120 average call-out cost of an emergency plumber this winter.

A quarter would have to cut back on basic food expenditure or seek a loan from family or friends to cover the cost, while one in thirty would take out a payday loan.

And for a tragic 58,000 across the region, it would mean cancelling Christmas gift shopping altogether.

"The thought of so many people suffering the stress of burst pipes over winter makes me shudder especially when it can be avoided with a bit of planning," said United Utilities' customer experience manager Sally Ainsworth. "Of the estimated 1.3 million whose pipes have frozen in the past, nearly a million ended up with a burst and a flood as well. With the cost of the average clean-up standing at £525 that's a risk no-one can afford to take in this economic climate."

United Utilities' Winter Wise campaign will see the company launch a region-wide roadshow to give out advice packs to households, containing tips for staying freeze-free.

Sally explained: "Although we will fix the pipes in the street, pipes in your garden and house belong to you or your landlord and we can usually only offer advice.

"That's what the Winter Wise campaign is all about – offering helpful advice that can make a big difference. It's designed to raise awareness of basic steps people can take to avoid this sort of misery and financial hardship. Our road shows will be visiting a town near youover the next few weeks handing out advice and free goodies. Come and see us."

United Utilities' essential tips for avoiding winter woes are:

• Lag your pipes so they are much less likely to freeze

• Find and label your stop tap – the tap which controls water supply to your house,so you know where to turn the water off if you do get a burst.

Following these simple tips may not just save unnecessary repair bills, but also the hassle that accompanies burst pipe incidents.

Half of those surveyed by United Utilities, who'd experienced frozen or burst pipes, said they'd had to live without water and heating for several days.

Some 32% had to take time off work, while one in ten needed to eat out or order takeaways for a long time afterwards – racking up the cost.

Sally continued: "Another big shock for a lot of people is that, even if they are covered, insurers can reject claims if basic home maintenance has been ignored.

"More than a third of homeowners polled in the North West were unaware of this fact – and 42% didn't even know if their policies covered plumbing emergencies."

For more advice on keeping pipes warm and freeze-free this winter visit If the worst still happens, visit find your nearest plumber from one of the seven UK existing Approved Contractors' Schemes.

Home truths about the region's DIY dicers

Chilling stats* show how many North West homeowners are dicing with disaster this winter.

• More than a third never check their homes or garages to see if pipes need lagging. If they did, less than half would know how to actually do it.

• One in five don't know how to turn their water off if they have a burst pipe.

• A quarter don't know what a stop tap (sometimes called a stop cock) is.

• And, our favourite, about one in 40 young people (aged 16 – 25) think a stop cock is an item of protective clothing men wear when they play sport. Ouch.

*Independent survey of 1001 North West adults by Opinion Matters carried out between 8th-15th October 2013.

Editors notes

The Winter Wise road show starts on November 14th and will run until December 1st.

About United Utilities

• United Utilities is one of the UK's largest water and wastewater companies, supplying seven million people in the North West of England with their drinking water, as well as removing and treating their wastewater

About the research

• Independent survey of 1001 North West adults by Opinion Matters carried out between 8th-15th October 2013.

• £578 million figure based on 38% of homeowners who have suffered burst pipes. There are 2.9m households in the North West according to ONS 2011 Census, 38% of that figure is 1.102m homes. With the average cost of clear up at £525 per home that has suffered burst pipes, the overall figure is £578.55m across the region.

About WaterSafe

• WaterSafe is a dedicated online search facility bringing together thousands of qualified contractors employed by plumbing businesses from the seven existing Approved Contractors' Schemes across the UK.

• The Scheme is funded by the water industry and is free to use.