Lag and tag to avoid flood misery, Larne pupils urge

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Larne and Inver Primary School recently joined forces with NI Water to help spread its Lag and Tag message for winter.

NI Water has produced the bright tag for customers to loop around the stop valve in their premises. It is to ensure they are aware of the location of the stop valve and it will be easily identifiable in the event of a burst pipe.

Jane Jackson, NI Water education manager, explained: “Last year was a mild winter, so the urgency to ensure property is protected may slip to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list. However, the threat of a cold winter and burst or frozen pipes is very real and cannot be ignored.

“At the height of the winter of 2010/11, over 80 per cent of the water lost from burst pipes was on the customer side, severely impacting on NI Water’s ability to provide water to all its customers.”

To help spread the word that consumers can do their bit to avoid a disaster on the scale of two years ago, Larne and Inver pupils were each given a tag to take home and learnt about the importance of insulating pipes around the home.

“Simple steps such as lagging water pipes and locating your stop valve can be vital during a freezing winter,” said Jane.

A stop valve is used to shut off the flow of water in a pipe. Stop valve tags are available by phoning the Waterline number 08457 440088 or emailing waterline@niwater.com.

NI Water’s top tips for avoiding frozen pipes include:

- insulate water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like lofts, roof spaces, garages and outbuildings;

- fix dripping taps – a gentle trickle of water can freeze and block the pipe;

- keep your boiler well serviced to ensure your house is heated;

- if you are away from home, open the trap door into the roof space to allow some of the warm air to circulate in the roof space and consider leaving a key with a neighbour, friend or family member who can check the house regularly for frozen pipes and to ensure there is adequate heat;

- know where your stop valve is in the case of an emergency - it is normally situated under the kitchen sink;

- do not run your tap to avoid a frozen pipe - a running tap can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per day;

- write down the name and contact details of a SNIPEF (Scotland & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers Federation) registered plumber in case a pipe does burst.