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Water leaks and frost damage

Frozen water pipes can burst and cause major issues if they aren't dealt with straight away. If you're having trouble with frozen pipes, or in the event of a pipe bursting, contact our Customer Service Centre as soon as possible on 0800 678 1221, but please be aware that it may take some time for our contractors to arrange an appointment if the weather is particular severe. They will always prioritise the most urgent requests.

If the problem pipe is underground and not on your property, call your local water supplier as this may be an issue they are aware of and are already dealing with. Here are some helpful links for local water suppliers:

Self-help advice

In the meantime, there are a few things that you may be able to do to help resolve the issue yourself if you feel comfortable doing so:

First of all, you need to shut off the water to the tap/s or, to be safe, to your entire home, while leaving the tap/s open.

If you can, follow the pipe back from the tap to where it runs through cold areas, looking out for parts of the pipe which are bulging, have frost or ice on the outside or are colder to the touch than other parts of the pipe.

An exposed frozen pipe can be thawed easily enough, but remember to start at the affected tap and work back towards the frozen area so trapped water can flow out.

You can use a hair dryer on a low setting to deal with the freeze, or try taking a portable heater to the problem area.

Holding a hot towel or hot water bottle to the frozen area may also help, or you can pick up some specialist electrical heating tape to deal with the blockage from most high street or online plumbing DIY retailers.

However, you should never try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame, since it could damage the pipe or start a fire in your home. 

Exterior or underground pipes

Pipes which are underground, in outside walls, behind cabinets are particularly prone to freezing over. They're also trickier to deal with. During particularly frosty spells, open cabinet doors to expose pipes to the warmer air in your house, and report any leaks immediately.

Your boiler

Homes with boilers installed which are fitted with a condense overflow pipe may require closer monitoring by customers in extreme conditions. In the event of a boiler break-down during extremely cold weather, customers are advised to refer to the manufacturer’s guidance. If a frozen condense pipe is suspected, follow the same trace and thaw processes detailed above and you should be able to attempt to thaw out the pipe and get your boiler operating again if our contractors are unable to attend quickly due to higher priority emergencies or traffic conditions.

Here is a short video with some additional advice, but please remember to contact us rather than British Gas to report an issue.