A WATER expert has warned Inverclyde homeowners to prepare for winter to avoid ‘irreparable damage’ following chilling lows last year.

The Met Office recorded temperatures of minus seven degrees in the area last winter.

Scottish Water has now launched its ‘Be Winter Wise’ campaign to share simple steps which can help residents water and money.

In 2022, the public body reported a surge in burst pipes due to rapid thaw – resulting in millions of pounds in damage and an additional 250 million litres of water being pumped into the network daily.

Brian Lironi, director of corporate affairs at Scottish Water, said: “If last winter is anything to go by, homeowners, landlords and businesses around the country need to take early action to protect their properties and their pockets this year."

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Scottish Water is urging homeowners to protect pipes by insulating them, as well as locating their stop valve to allow them to turn it off immediately in the event of a burst pipe.

People are also being encouraged to stay warm with hot water bottles and drinks – but it is suggested that they boil only what is needed.

Residents can also save on energy bills by taking shorter showers, with experts saying a two-minute reduction in shower time could see savings of up to £130 on annual energy bills.

Using dishwashers or washing machines on eco-settings can also help keep bills down.

Scottish Water is also asking customers to avoid pouring fats, oils and grease down their sinks to prevent blockages in pipes.