The temperature has dropped again across Scotland as we see forecasts of ice and snow return.

As the temperature outside cools, so does the water in our pipes, so it is good to be prepared during the cold weather and to know what to do if a pipe freezes or bursts.

Scottish Water has given its top tips on how to heat, insulate and protect your home this winter.

Heat your property

It goes without saying but keeping your house to a certain degree of warmth will help prevent any frozen accidents!

“If you don’t have frost-protection built into your boiler, then set the heating thermostat to 10C and the programmer to On or 24h,” Scottish Water advises.

“The heating will only come on if the temperature inside your home drops below 10C, so it shouldn’t use a lot of energy and it could help prevent frozen pipes and expensive repairs.”

Border Telegraph: How to protect your home this winter (Canva)How to protect your home this winter (Canva)

Insulate your property

Just like we don’t like the cold, our pipes don’t either. Making sure our pipes and water tanks are properly insulated is one of the easiest (and cheapest) steps you can take.

Water tanks should be fitted with an insulation jacket or have the top and sides covered by insulation material.

Don’t place loft insulation under the tank, though, as this stops heat from the rooms below helping to keep the tank from freezing.

Protect your property

If you’re going to be leaving your property during colder months it is ideal to have someone who can come and check on your property for any problems. Such as a trusted neighbour or family member.

Most central heating systems will now have a ‘holiday’ mode, which will fire up your boiler if it is needed.

“If your property is going to be empty over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system – a licensed plumber should be able to give you advice about this”, Scottish Water advise.

“Dripping water and cold draughts both increase the risk of pipes freezing – so have any drips or leaks repaired as soon as you discover them and reduce draughts by fitting draught excluders to doors and windows.”

What to do if your pipes freeze or burst

Scottish Water gives the following advice if you do experience a frozen or burst pipe.

If a pipe freezes:

Turn off the stop valve immediately and open all cold taps to drain the system, but never turn on the hot taps – if you have a hot water cylinder it may collapse if the pipes leading to it are frozen.

Thawing out pipes:

Never attempt to thaw out frozen pipes by switching on your immersion heater or central heating boiler. Instead, check for leaking joints or bursts in the pipes.  If it is safe to do so, then gently heat any frozen sections with a heated cloth wrapped around the pipe. Never apply a direct flame.

If your pipe bursts:

Locate the stop valve which controls the water supply entering your home and turn it off immediately. The most common locations are under a sink, in a garage or close to the hot water system.

Then switch off your immersion heater and central heating boiler and let any solid fuel fires die down. Open all hot and cold taps to drain them of any remaining water to minimise the damage.

Switch off your electricity supply at the mains if there’s any chance that water could come into contact with electrical wiring or fittings.

Once repaired, it’s important to remember to make sure your hot water system is refilled BEFORE you re-light your boiler or switch on the immersion heater

For more information on how to keep your house safe this winter, visit the Scottish Water website.