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Busy spell for team with the 'Best Hearing in Yorkshire'

Busy spell for team with the 'Best Hearing in Yorkshire'
Yorkshire Water’s team of 100 specialists with the ‘best hearing in Yorkshire’ is bracing itself for its busiest time of the year in Bradford as we head into winter.

The onset of winter brings with it an increase of up to 50% in bursts to water pipes and mains and the company’s team of expert leakage inspectors will be descending on streets all over the city to help resolve the problems. Last winter there were over 400 bursts in Bradford alone for the team to get to grips with.

And while the crack squad will be armed with a range of hi-tech gadgets to detect the problem, it is their trademark ‘listening sticks’, first introduced around 150 years ago, that remain one of the most reliable ways of identifying the source of a leak.

These listening sticks allow inspectors to identify a leak from up to 500 metres away using just their hearing and they are still a key tool despite the introduction of numerous alternative contraptions over the years.

The reliable 1.5m-long devices have an earpiece on one end and the inspector places the other onto a stop tap or valve to listen out for the constant noise generated by water escaping from a pipe.

In fact, Yorkshire Water’s experts are so well trained that they can even tell what type of leak they’re facing just by the sound – a high-pitched noise represents a small leak, while a low sound could be a larger burst or split.

Tony O’Shea, Yorkshire Water’s Leakage and Metering Manager, said: “Being able to locate a leak just based on what you’re hearing is a real skill which can take years of experience to develop.

“Despite all the clever pieces of kit that have come along in recent years, 99% of leaks will be found with the help of a listening stick. While we’ve got the experts and devices in place to help us deal with bursts when they do come along, we’d still like to ask all of our customers across Bradford to make sure they’re winter ready by following our tips.”

Last year, Yorkshire Water’s leakage team dealt with more than 6,000 bursts or leaks over the winter period.

Yorkshire Water’s winter ready tips can help save customers money, preventing bursts or blockages in their homes which they would be responsible for rectifying, as well as stopping major issues from occurring in the company’s network.

Among these tips are:

Spot the potential problems – Look out for areas that could be exposed to freezing temperatures, like the garage, garden, shed, loft or outside walls.

Protect your pipes and taps – After identifying the problem areas – wrap the pipes at risk in lagging

Keep your central heating ticking over – Leave the heating on a constant low temperature.

Get to grips with your stop tap – If a burst does happen, it’s important you know where your stop tap is and how to shut it off

Prepare for the worst – Have a plan of what to do if the worst does happen 

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