England

Severn Trent Water warns of burst pipes in the thaw

Icicles hang down from a gutter
Image caption Severn Trent Water has warned that frozen pipes could burst during the thaw

Householders and businesses are being urged to check for leaks caused by the cold weather.

Severn Trent Water said checks were particularly important for companies that had closed down over the holidays and could be unaware pipes had frozen.

Companies could also turn off the water and drain the system as a flooding precaution, it added.

Leaks should be reported to a plumber to stop them getting worse, it said.

A spokesman for Severn Trent Water said: "When water freezes in pipes, it expands, putting pressure on joints and any cracks or weakness in the pipe walls.

"When the pipes begin to thaw out, the ice turns back to water, which exposes any places where pipes have split or joints have parted - and that's when leaks or bursts happen."

It said pipes in farm outbuildings and outdoor drinking troughs were also susceptible to damage and should be checked.

Unoccupied premises and outbuildings were also vulnerable to bursts, it said.

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