Be prepared for winter, our tips on how to prevent frozen pipes


At Unicom, we are always working so the water cycle never stops. We believe the best way to prevent frozen or burst pipes is to be prepared during cold weather. Our winter information gives you helpful advice on how to heat, insulate and protect your home, so we can all play our part to keep the water cycle running smoothly.

Our tips on looking after your pipes in winter:

6 degrees and milder

  • Leave your heating on, using a low setting.
  • If you live in an apartment, leave the heating on low in rooms where the mains pipe supplies neighbouring apartments.
  • If you’re going away, then make sure you have someone who can regularly check for any problems in your home.
  • Ensure neighbours have a key for your home (or contact details for someone who does) in case of an emergency.
  • If your property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system – a licensed plumber should be able to give you advice about this – visit
  • Now is a good time to locate your stop valve in your home. You may want to consider fitting an automatic stop valve – they can reduce damage to your property from burst internal pipes.

1C to 5C

  • Your water tank should be fitted with an insulation jacket or alternatively, the top and sides of the tank can be wrapped with suitable insulation material.
  • Don’t place loft insulation under the tank, as this stops heat from the rooms below helping to keep the tank warm.
  • Toilet cisterns, water tanks or pipes in exposed places or unheated outbuildings, should be insulated. Better still drain them for winter if you’re not using them.
  • Buy good quality insulation – the thinner the pipe the thicker the insulation must be. 15mm or 1/2″ pipes need insulation which is 25mm thick, 28mm or 1″ pipe needs insulation which is at least 19mm thick.

0 degrees and under

Pipes are now liable to freeze

  • Dripping water increases the risk of freezing, so have any leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them.
  • Cold draughts also increase your heating bills and can cause frozen pipework.
  • Look out for your neighbours, especially the frail, elderly and vulnerable.
  • We recommend that you call a plumber for a professional opinion on any issue with the pipework in your property. However, Scottish Water, one of our wholesale suppliers, have a video on how to thaw pipes if you do experience a frozen pipe scenario and wish to deal with it yourself.
  • If you do have a water emergency please contact us on 0161 465 6613 or you can contact us via the customer zone.