UK households are being urged to tag their stop tap this winter as part of the Met Office’s WeatherReady campaign.
Residents are being encouraged to write the details of a WaterSafe-approved emergency plumber on a spare Christmas gift tag and attach it to their property’s stop tap.
A statement said that knowing where your stop tap is and how to turn your water supplies off could help prevent flooding and damage if a pipe freezes or bursts and having the number of a qualified and insured plumber to hand could save the day in an emergency.
Only 42% of UK residents currently know how to find and use their stop tap to turn the water off in case of a burst pipe, according to research by WaterSafe. It’s often found under the kitchen sink, but could also be in a kitchen cupboard, bathroom or garage.
Julie Spinks, director at WaterSafe, said: “Our research shows that well under half of us know how to find and use their stop tap, but 15% of people have had a burst pipe in the past, so it’s a real risk in wintry weather.
“Pipes freezing and bursting can cause extensive damage to homes and businesses, but taking simple steps such as knowing where your stop tap is can limit any damage.
“Writing the details of a local WaterSafe-approved plumber on a gift tag and attaching it to the stop tap means people will be able to isolate their water supply and know who to contact should they experience a problem with their property’s plumbing.
“We’d also encourage people to insulate outside pipes and taps, as well as any pipes in unheated areas of the home such as the loft.”
Chris Walsh, Met Office’s head of warnings, said: “Winters in the UK usually include a wide variety of weather and this winter looks likely to be no exception.
“To keep on top of the weather conditions it’s important to stay up to date with the forecast and National Severe Weather Warnings in your area.
“There are simple and cost-effective things everyone can do to prepare for any severe winter weather. Including plenty of useful and creative weather hacks out there that can help people to avoid disruption and make the most of winter weather.”