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HIP Blog: Are your customers winter ready?

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Gareth Harris is Water Industry Approved Plumbers Scheme Manager at WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme). He and WaterSafe have offered 5 top tips to keep your customers winter-ready.

With winter now upon us, do you share some basic plumbing tips with your customers to ensure they are winter ready? WaterSafe has launched its winter campaign offering 5 top tips to help keep your customer’s plumbing safe during winter.

Top tips

Start with the basics – does your customer know where their stop valve is, and is it working properly? You’d be surprised the number of people who have no idea where their stop valve is – make this one of your first checks when you enter someone’s home. Find the stop valve, explain its purpose to the customer and check it is working – this could save your customer thousands of pounds if they have a burst pipe.

If you’re working in the attic, garage or other unheated spaces, are the pipes sufficiently insulated? If there is no insulation make your customer aware of the risks of leaving them uninsulated. This goes for outside taps too! There’s a handy insulation app available on the WRAS website: https://www.wras.co.uk/consumers/resources/tools/pipe_insulation_tool/

A small drip from a tap may seem insignificant, but not only does it waste water – a valuable resource, but it could also lead to bigger problems. A gentle trickle through a waste pipe could slowly begin to freeze and eventually block external, exposed waste pipes. I’m ashamed to say this happened to a family member during the Beast from the East!

When did your customer last have their boiler serviced? It’s best to get it checked and serviced before the winter months rather than risk waiting for it to break and having either the expense of an emergency call-out, or waiting several days if the worst happened – such as on Christmas day.

Although it may seem like a false economy, advise customers to leave their heating on low if they are going away during cold periods. It’s cheaper to pay for a little bit of gas rather than the cost of repairs due to a frozen pipe. A temperature of around 14°C should be sufficient.

As your experience grows, you will probably come up with your own tips and ‘bugbears’ that you will find with plumbing systems. Don’t be afraid to offer advice to your customers – it’s not about looking for work or creating work, it’s about good customer service which always goes a long way! The experience you have and gain may just save a customer from a big bill caused by the cold weather.

You can read Gareth’s first blog on career opportunities within the industry here.

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