Preparing Your Home for Winter

You might not think you need to do much, but homes are just as vulnerable to the cold as people are. So while you suffer from colds and flu your home could be suffering just as badly.

Every winter, thousands of properties suffer burst pipes and their occupiers suffer the misery and inconvenience that go with them.

Most of these bursts could easily have been avoided with just a few simple precautions. Many people think they won’t be affected or don’t know what they should do to protect their home.

Here are some of the things you can do before winter to make your home less vulnerable to the cold weather.

  • Find out where the tap is that turns off the water supply to your house – make sure the tap works because if you do suffer a burst pipe during the winter you will need to turn it off quickly to prevent water flooding out and causing damage. (It will usually be somewhere on the ground floor of your house, maybe under the sink or stairs).
  • Repair any dripping taps – ensure that taps are turned off and ball valves and taps are repaired as they can cause waste pipes to freeze. If the weather is cold enough drips can freeze up before they drain away. If left for long enough pipework can block and cause pipes to burst completely.
  • Check you know how to use your heating system properly – so you can heat your home efficiently. For more information contact the Dundee Energy Efficiency Advice Project (DEEAP) on 01382 434840.
  • Keep the heat in – ensure that pipes are properly insulated. You may be entitled to have your house insulated and draught-proofed free of charge if you are in receipt of a qualifying benefit. In the first instance you should contact the Claverhouse Group on 01382 828828.
  • If you intend to leave your house unoccupied (for more than a few days) – turn off the water supply and drain the plumbing system (if you are a council tenant please call the Customer Service Team for advice, Tel: 01382 434343). If this is not possible ensure there is a low background heating on in the house when you are away. You can also pour salt down sinks, baths, wash-hand basin as this will help prevent freezing. Ask a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away to help prevent possible damage. Open your loft door to help keep the loft area, water tanks and pipes in it warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • If pipes freeze – you can try to thaw them out by using warm air or warm water – beware of using electrical appliances near water as this can be dangerous. If the pipes are part of the hot water system, turn off or extinguish the source of heat (immersion heater, gas boiler, coal fire etc).
  • If a burst occurs – turn off the main water supply tap for the house. Turn on the taps in your kitchen and bathroom. Switch off the boiler and the immersion water heating system or extinguish the fire. For assistance telephone the Customer Service Team on 01382 434343.


Make sure that your house contents insurance policy provides cover against damage from cold weather. Dundee City Council can insure tenants' homes for a minimal weekly charge. Contact any housing office for an application form.

Adverse Weather Conditions

In the event of adverse weather conditions visit the Winter Weather section of this website for what to do to keep safe on the roads and find out about office and school closures.