Pipework, Pressure & Leaks

In this section you will find information on leakage, water pressure, lead pipes, water meter applications, approved plumbers and bogus callers.

Click on a title below to see more information on each subject


Download the leaflet here

Approved Plumbers

Approved Plumbers

The Water Industry fund a scheme called Water Safe, which is a dedicated online search facility bringing together thousands of qualified contractors employed by plumbing businesses from the seven existing Approved Contractors’ Schemes across the UK. A link to the search facility is given below.


Free Water Supply Pipe Leak/Repair Survey

As part of our effort to reduce water leakage and assist our customers in this area, we may be able to help you.

Portsmouth Water offers subject to certain conditions a free, non emergency, repair service for straightforward leaks on domestic supply pipes including those that are multi-occupancy domestic premises managed by commercial property maintenance companies. Whether or not you qualify can be determined at a free survey.

This offer does not extend to commercial, business or council/housing association premises.

This service is provided free up to a maximum of two hours for our Inspector’s time and six hours for a two man leakage repair team. If the repair exceeds this time you will be advised that charges may be raised.

From our vast experience it would be better in the long term if your water supply pipe was replaced in its entirety as further repairs are usually imminent. We are able to suggest three specialist contractors who are all registered with the Water industry Approved Plumbers Scheme and experienced in dealing with customers supply pipe leakage, and may even be able to claim the repair on your house insurance allowing you to get a new pipe free of charge.

The three Companies are;

In the mean time should you require further advice on any of the above information or would like us to arrange a visit from one of the three specialist Companies above please do not hesitate to contact our leakage team on 02392 449 082 .

For further information please click here to view our brochure 'Repairing leaks to your Supply pipe.'

Please click here for further information found in our 'Code of Practice and Procedures for Leakage on Domestic Supplies.'

To report a leak Fill our form by clicking here

Who Is Responsible For The Pipework?
Example of supply pipes

The part of the service pipe which links the water main in the street to the stop valve outside your property belongs to us.

The part of the service pipe leading from the stop valve outside your property to the point where it enters your home is your responsibility if you are the owner; otherwise it is your landlord's.

Lead Pipes

Some drinking water can contain lead in undesirable amounts. At Portsmouth Water we treat your drinking water through a harmless conditioning process to reduce the level of lead leaching into your drinking water. Water does not contain traces of lead when it leaves the treatment works.

For a long time, generally up to 1970, lead was used for some water pipes. Part of or the entire service pipe connecting the water main in the street to your kitchen tap may be made of lead. If your home has been modernised since 1970 and all of its pipework replaced from our stop valve outside your home to the kitchen tap, there should be no lead pipe on your property.

If your home was built:

  • Before 1970 it may have lead pipes
  • After 1970 it is unlikely to have lead pipes

If you are unsure, you can make a simple check:

Inside your home

Look in or behind the cupboards in your kitchen. You may also need to look in other places, e.g. the cupboard under the stairs. Find the pipe leading to the kitchen tap. Check if it is lead along as much of its length as possible. Unpainted lead pipes are dull grey. They are also soft. If you scrape the surface gently with a knife, you will see the shiny, silver-coloured metal beneath.

Outside your home

Open the flap of the stop valve outside your property. Examine the pipe leading from the stop valve to the property. If you can, scrape its surface gently with a knife. It may not be possible to do this in some cases as access may be difficult.

Other pipe materials in common use are:

Copper - bright, hard and dull brown
Iron - dark, very hard and may be rusty
Plastic - may be grey, black or blue.

How Can I Find Out If There Is Lead In My Drinking Water?

If your home has lead pipes, your drinking water may sometimes contain levels of lead. We can tell you how likely this is. We regularly take samples of the water supplied to individual properties in your area and test them for lead. If necessary we can take a sample from your home and tell you the results. If you would like to request this service please telephone the Laboratory on 02392 449083.

What Can I Do To Reduce Lead Levels?

If lead pipes are causing high lead levels in your drinking water, you can take some simple short-term precautions:

Do not drink water that has been standing in the pipes for long periods, for example, overnight, or if no one has been in for several hours.

In these circumstances, draw off a washing-up bowlful of water from the kitchen tap to clear the water which has been standing in the pipes. This need not be wasted but can be used on the garden or for something other than drinking or cooking. If the length of lead pipes exceeds 40 metres, more than a bowlful of water will need to be drawn off.

You can then use the water from the kitchen tap as usual.

If you have any lead pipework between the stop valve outside your home and your kitchen tap, the best solution is to replace it.

If you do that, you can ask us to replace our part of the service pipe between the water main in the street and the stop valve. We do this free of charge.

Make sure that removing lead water pipes does not reduce electrical safety by removing earthing. Ask your electricity supplier if in doubt.

For more information on lead pipes and how to replace your pipe please contact us on 02392 449088 and ask to speak to our Water Regulations Department.

Water Pressure In My Area

What Is The Water Pressure In My Area?

The Company has a duty to provide a minimum guaranteed water pressure of 10 metres head (1 bar). This minimum standard is measured at the Company’s stop valve which is usually situated at the boundary of the property.

Operationally throughout the Company’s area of supply our water pressure varies. We do, however, aim to provide a working pressure of approximately 15 metres head (1.5 bar).

Some of our customers require continuous water pressure above the minimum guaranteed standard. This can be achieved through a combination of water storage and a pressured boosted system.

The diagram below is an example of a system without a break tank and therefore will be limited to drawing 12 litres per minute.

Some ball valves and water using appliances require adjustment, depending on the water pressure they receive. If you are unsure of the water pressure you receive you may contact us for advice on 02392 449082.

Frozen Pipes

Frozen Pipes and Wrapping Up For Winter

We all take our water supply for granted. But if your home or business suffers a burst pipe this winter, you could be left with no water and a hefty bill to repair the damage to your property.

All pipework within your home or business boundary is your responsibility, so it really is worth protecting it properly to avoid serious problems during cold weather. Further down there is some essential information to help protect your property from burst pipes.

If you do not have any water, before ringing us, check whether your neighbour’s supplies are also affected. If they are not, then the odds are that your pipes are frozen and the lack of supply is not caused by a burst water main out on the road. If your pipes are frozen then the following advice may help.

If a Pipe Freezes

  • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock.
  • Check to see if the pipe has burst.
  • Open the affected tap. Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a towel soaked in hot water, starting at the end nearest the tap.
  • Never use a naked flame, hair-dryer or blowtorch to thaw the pipe.
  • Don’t leave taps dripping or running as the water may not drain down the plughole if the pipe below is frozen.

If a Pipe Bursts

  • Turn off the stopcock and boiler.
  • Open all taps to drain the system quickly.
  • Soak up/block off escaping water with thick towels.
  • Call a qualified plumber. Local water industry recommended plumbers can be found at https://www.watersafe.org.uk/.
  • If water has leaked near your electrics or into any electrical appliances, switch them off at the mains.
  • Turn off taps once pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding.

Why not be proactive and safeguard your bank balance and water supply by following these simple steps to protect your pipework this winter.

Avoiding Frozen Pipes

  • Insulate water tanks and lag pipes (lagging material is available from all good DIY stores). Make sure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings.
  • Pay special attention to water tanks and pipes in unheated areas like loft spaces and garages, and check insulation in any property likely to be unoccupied for long periods.
  • Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe.
  • Find your property’s internal stopcock and make sure you can turn it off if necessary. Most stopcocks are fitted under the kitchen sink and close by turning clockwise.
  • Check your boiler has been serviced.
  • Minimise draughts from outside and close doors and windows to unheated parts of the property.
  • Leave the heating on low when you are away and get a friend or neighbour to check the property regularly.
  • If a property (such as an office or school) is going to be unoccupied for long periods, turn off the water at the stopcock and consider draining down the system so there is no water left in the pipes.
  • Keep a separate supply of drinking water for emergencies.

From health to heating... Where to find other useful information

Wrapping up for winter isn’t just about your pipework. It’s also about making sure you and your family are ready for the cold weather – and that’s where the Government’s Get Ready for Winter initiative comes in. Go to http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/get-ready-for-winter and you’ll find a mine of practical information to help you survive the winter months. From essential tips on winter motoring to finding out what benefits and allowances you can claim to meet heating costs, it’s all there, along with useful links to many other organisations. Please click here for a leaflet on 'Wrapping Up For Winter'.

Bogus Callers
stop, chain, check

Knock knock! Who's there? Be stranger aware!

The music-hall image of a man in a mask and striped jumper creeping around in the dark is a far cry from today’s burglar.

The modern day intruder is more likely to arrive in broad daylight and talk his way into your home by claiming he is from the Water Board or another utility company.

Before letting anyone into your home, we recommend you follow STOP, CHAIN, CHECK.

If you see anyone acting suspiciously contact the police on 999.

You can identify Portsmouth Water staff by their:

  • Portsmouth Water photographic identification card
  • Portsmouth Water uniform with kingfisher logo
  • Portsmouth Water vehicle with kingfisher logo

If you are unsure please call us on 023 9247 7999.