Make sure your business is ready for winter

Tractor in snow_59446Farmers are being offered help and advice on how they can beat the freeze this winter and avoid unnecessary expense and business disruption.

Essex & Suffolk Water is urging the farming community to be winter-ready to prevent the cost and damage that burst water pipes can cause.

With forecasts showing more cold weather is on the way, there is a greater risk of pipes freezing or bursting - leaving businesses without hot running water. According to the Association of British Insurers, a burst pipe costs, on average, £8,800 to repair.

The utility company is asking farmers to isolate unused troughs and check for leaks in above-ground pipework.

Ross Beckwith of Essex & Suffolk Water said: “We’d urge customers to check the pipework within the boundary of their property, which is their responsibility, and to do what they can to protect it from freezing or bursting this winter period.

“We know that winter can be a really tough time for the farming community, so we want to make it as stress-free as possible by giving our top tips to avoid unnecessary costs.”

NFU National Water Resources Specialist Paul Hammett said: “We welcome this useful advice and urge farmers to get into the routine of checking pipes and checking bills.

“Undetected leaks can be a real issue for farms and they can prove costly for businesses as well.

“We also encourage farmers to have plans in place so they know how to act in response to water supply interruption or a significant drop in water pressure.”

Top tips to protect your water supply

  • Map out where all the pipes are on your farm.
  • Label stop taps and valves and regularly check them.
  • Check the pipes leading up to remote troughs.
  • Fix dripping taps and faulty washers.
  • Insulate exposed pipes, cisterns, tanks, taps and water meters.
  • Isolate and, where possible, drain down pipework in unheated buildings during prolonged cold conditions.
  • If supply is required to or through unheated buildings, ensure pipework is protected from draughts and is well lagged and check it does not freeze or burst. Consider trace heating.
  • If possible, isolate any outside taps and drain any associated hoses.
  • Have a selection of key spares to hand in case they are required (ball valves, Isolation valves, pipework and joints).

The NFU also has advice available on the water pages of its website.