Northern Ireland Water is urging property owners to check their premises immediately as pressure on the water network continues to rise.
Following the recent spell of freezing weather conditions, NI Water says it's clear from the increase in demand for water on the network that there are bursts throughout the system.
They are urgently asking the public to check their empty properties for burst pipes.
Des Nevin, Director of Customer Operations, said: “In particular, we are appealing to landlords to check student housing and other rental properties that are currently empty.
“Large businesses and factories closed for the weekend are also asked to return to their property and thoroughly check inside and outside for leaks.
“The damage that can be done from a leaking pipe can cost thousands and can take months to repair, so please, take action now to protect your property and the water network.
“It is our priority to ensure customers do not experience an interruption to their water supply. We are doing this by repairing bursts on our own network and tankering water to locations under strain.
“Our teams will continue to work 24/7 until the situation stabilises and returns to normal.
“We would like to thank customers for their support during these extreme weather conditions.”
Vacant properties and properties found with running water may be turned off in an emergency to prevent damage or waste. Beware of running taps during cold weather - please turn flowing taps off as they may also become frozen.
If you spot a burst pipe while you are out and about, whether it’s a trickle of water or a gushing pipe, please let NI Water know as this may help them get to it faster and therefore cause less disruption to customers.
You can do this by visiting Report A Leak Or Burst Pipe - Northern Ireland Water, using the webchat service online at Contact Us - Northern Ireland Water or on Facebook and Twitter @niwnews. NI Water also has a dedicated Leakline number, 0800 028 2011, open 24 hours a day, every day. Calls are free of charge.
NI Water’s advice during the thaw:
- If you are out of water, first check with your neighbours. If they HAVE water, it is likely that the problem is with your internal pipework. Call a plumber to have the problem fixed.
- If your neighbours are WITHOUT water, it could be a burst watermain. Call Waterline on 03457 440088 to report the problem.
- You are our eyes and ears – if you spot a leak or a burst pipe, don’t assume we know about it, we depend on the public to alert us to leaks. Please call Waterline so we can fix the burst as soon as possible.
- NI Water is appealing to property owners, in particular, schools, farms, caravan parks, estate agents, landlords etc. to be extra vigilant, checking out buildings or properties that may have been closed.
Simple things that homes and businesses can do to prepare:
- Wrap up pipes and water tanks with lagging – high street DIY stores have everything you need; the thicker the lagging the better the protection;
- Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe;
- Find your property’s stop valve and make sure you can turn it off – most are under the kitchen sink - if you have one of our stop valve tags, wrap this around it;
- Keep the name of an approved plumber handy – type in your postcode at www.watersafe.org.uk to find your nearest accredited plumbing business.
If you want a little extra help preparing your home for winter, visit www.getwaterfit.co.uk and type in your postcode to order a FREE winter stop valve tag and flyer.
Visit niwater.com/winter-proof-your-home for further advice on how to protect your property this winter.
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