Falkirk householders are being urged to take action to ensure their property and pipes are protected ahead of winter.
Scottish Water says the aim is to prevent burst pipes and flooding in the event of freezing temperatures at the end of the year and in the first few months of 2019.
It says the big freeze early this year is a warning that residents and businesses should adopt a “prepare now” approach.
Temperatures varied this year from -15C during the Beast from the East to around 32C atthe height of the summer.
During the last spell of severe winter weather, Scottish Water dealt with about 700 customer-reported bursts in a month.
The Met Office has also supported the call for early preventative steps to head off winter property issues.
Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Farrer, said: “It is only a few months ago that we were experiencing heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures across Scotland.
“During summer we experienced the opposite extreme when the hot weather settled in for weeks on end.
“With autumn now here, it’s the ideal time to prepare for the possibility of further severe weather and the potential impact that has on property.
“Taking action now can prevent the misery of damage to property and pipes in the months to come”.
Scottish Water has passed on some key advice -
Heat: Warmth offers the best protection against frozen pipes, so when temperatures are low leave your heating on a low setting, or set it to come on a couple of times a day.
Insulate: Pipes don’t like the cold – whether they are outdoor or indoor, metal or plastic, new or old.
Making sure pipes and water tanks are properly insulated is one of the simplest, and cheapest, things which can be done to help protect properties from the cold.
Make sure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fitting, and that you use a suitable insulation material.
Protect: If you are going away, make sure you have someone who can check regularly for any problems.
Dripping water increases the risk of freezing, so have any drips or leaks at taps or valves repaired as soon as you discover them, and reduce draughts by fitting draught excluders to doors and windows.
Even when your home or property is winter-ready sometimes damages can happen, so make sure you have adequate buildings and content insurance.
If your home or property is going to be vacant over the winter months, turn off your water supply and drain the system.
Other important winter advice includes tips on finding and using your stop valve, keeping a small emergency pack handy, and be a good neighbour - keep an eye out for your neighbours including the elderly and those who might need additional support.
Visit www.scottishwater.co.uk/winter for more winter information, advice and films.