Blocked, frozen and burst pipes
Blocked toilets and pipes
The most effective thing you can do to stop pipes getting blocked is to watch what you put down them.
For toilets, this means no sanitary towels or nappies – put them in the bin instead.
If your toilet does get blocked, pour the water down it until the blockage clears.
If that doesn’t work, don’t use your toilet again, and report the repair to us immediately on 0115 915 2222.
If your sink or washbasin gets blocked, get some sink and plughole unblocker from the supermarket and follow the instructions on the bottle – it’s best to use it last thing at night, then the unblocker has overnight to work.
You could also try using a plunger – empty all the water from the sink, then hold a cloth over the overflow opening and plunge the plug hole. Run lots of water through once the blockage is cleared.
Frozen and burst pipes
Ways to avoid getting frozen and burst pipes:
- make sure you know where your stop tap is, and check regularly that it turns
- turn all your taps off fully
- keep heating on low all the time rather than having it on high and turning it on and off
- make sure that your radiators are on the frost setting in rooms you don't use, rather than being turned off
- make sure that rooms that don’t have radiators aren’t allowed to get really cold.
- turn off your mains water if you’re going to be away from home for more than a couple of days.
If a water pipe freezes, turn off the water at the main stop tap and let pipes thaw out naturally – don’t try to thaw them by using a hair drier or blow lamp. Don’t use boiling water either - with metal pipes in particular – as the ice inside can expand and crack them.
If a water pipe bursts, turn off the water at the main stop tap, put a bowl under the leak, switch off your central heating or immersion, turn on all the taps to drain the system (this can take about 15 minutes), then, when they’ve run dry, turn them off.
You may find our factsheet How to clean up water damage after a leak useful.
If any electrics get wet, don’t touch them.
Contact us on 0115 915 2222.