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4th December 2010

As the winter weather bites, Scottish Water is advising communities across the Highlands and Islands to heat, insulate and protect their homes, businesses, holiday cottages and village halls to help prevent the misery of burst pipes.

There are three simple steps:

*Heat - Leave your heating on at a low temperature. Make sure heaters are well-maintained and working properly. Leave a key and contact details with neighbours or family if you are going away.

*Insulate - Check loft insulation is thick and in good condition.

*Protect -
Have any leaks at taps or valves repaired.
Fit draught excluders to your doors and windows.
Look out for your neighbours, especially the frail, elderly and vulnerable.

The Highlands' own weather expert, BBC forecaster Gail McGrane from Dingwall, is backing Scottish Water's Warm Pipes Campaign. Gail said:"It has already been cold enough for pipes to freeze and consequently burst. So it's best not to be complacent and take action now to protect our homes and make this winter as comfortable as possible."

Joanna Peebles, Scottish Water's Communities Manager for Highland and the Western Isles, added: "Last winter was the coldest in 30 years. Many customers unfortunately found out the real problems start when temperatures begin to rise after a very cold period. This can lead to pipes expanding and bursting. That's why we want customers to start thinking about protecting their pipes now, and make sure they are prepared."

A series of new online films provides helpful advice on how to locate your stop valve, insulate your pipes and what to do if a pipe bursts or freezes. These can be viewed by visiting

There is also the chance to receive one of 500 free thermometer fridge magnets. Visit the website or call the Scottish Water Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855 quoting Warm Pipes.

It is recommended that people know where their stop valve is - usually under the kitchen sink - and keep a note of telephone numbers such as a registered plumber. Details are available from the SNIPEF plumbing federation by visiting or by calling 0845 224 0391.

Last year's Big Freeze resulted in misery for holiday home owners and those responsible for village and community halls. Scottish Water's Customer Service Delivery Director, Peter Farrer is urging people to be prepared:

"Very often people think it won't happen to them, but there are few things more upsetting than coming home or into work to find everything ankle deep in freezing water and your carpets, furniture and equipment all ruined because of a burst pipe. If people follow our simple steps now to heat, insulate and protect their pipes, then they can enjoy peace of mind that there home will be a happy one, which in turn will help to reduce the risk of any repair bills for burst pipes."

Scottish Water works with housing associations, community councils, business organisations and landlord associations to make sure homeowners throughout Scotland are aware of how they can protect their home.

Last winter Scottish Water harnessed every possible resource to tackle the effects of the big freeze on water services across Scotland. Additional staff from throughout the business stepped into the breach to minimise the impact of the harsh winter.

Caithness Plumbers can be found at - Note some numbers now just in case -
Caithness Plumbers In This Section

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