Simple steps to protect your water supply during freezing weather

12 December 2022

With the cold snap expected to continue for the next few days, Uisce Éireann is reminding customers that there are some simple steps they can take to protect against frozen pipes and bursts – and stay safe, warm and comfortable this winter.

The sub-zero temperatures in recent days have increased the number of frozen water pipes and bursts. Our crews on the ground are working in partnership with Local Authorities nationwide to maintain essential water and wastewater services. We are also liaising with the National Emergency Co-ordination Group and other key utilities to ensure an appropriate response to the ongoing weather conditions.

Customers can also do their bit to help avoid expensive repairs and a disrupted water supply at home or in their business/farm by taking a few easy preventative measures. These include checking outside pipes that can become frozen and burst during periods of cold weather and, if possible, turn off water supply to these areas or to any unoccupied premises. Alternatively, if the water system is left operational, you may consider setting the heating to come on periodically at a lower temperature. This allows warm air to circulate, and will help prevent pipes and tanks from freezing in the cold weather.

We would also ask people not to leave taps running as this will not necessarily prevent pipes from freezing and can impact on your local water supply.

Tom Cuddy, Uisce Éireann’s head of Asset Operations offered this advice:

With the temperatures dipping below -5-degrees in some areas this week it is really important to continue the regular maintenance of your property, protect outside taps and farm troughs, and check empty premises. It also a good idea to familiarise yourself with your own internal water system and particularly how to turn off your supply at the stopcock so that you can protect your property in the event of a burst pipe.

We also recommend that people don’t run taps continually as this is not an effective way of preventing frozen pipes and can cause other problems such as frozen drains. It also puts further pressure on water supplies that are already challenged by the freezing conditions. For example we recently saw an example of where a single hosepipe left running overnight resulted in 60 people being without water.

To help people avoid issues like this and stay safe, warm and comfortable during the cold snap we have lots of helpful advice on our website, www.water.ie/winterproofing. There is also advice on general winter readiness at www.winterready.ie.

The Uisce Éireann Customer Care Team is also available to help 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and there is lots of advice on being winter ready on @IrishWater.