Cold weather can be inconvenient in many ways from navigating icy pavements to defrosting the car on a frosty morning, but burst pipes are a particular concern. Unfortunately many people are unprepared for the impacts of cold weather – in the first quarter of 2018 claims for burst pipes rose from £4 million to £197 million*.
A frozen or burst pipe can cause significant damage to your home – the average insurance claim to repair the damage is £8,800*, but many claims are substantially more. Taking a few simple steps can help you prevent this unpleasant experience.
To help prevent burst pipes:
- Make sure that any exposed water pipes and tanks in your loft are insulated with good quality lagging – the insulation should go on the top of the pipes and taps.
- Insulate the pipes in any unheated areas such as the garage.
- Keep your home well heated – and if you are going away make sure that you have set the timer to ensure the heating comes on at regular intervals.
- If you’re going away for more than a couple of weeks ask a friend or neighbour to check your home regularly, so that any frozen pipes are identified sooner rather than later.
- Ensure you know where your main stop valve is located and that you can turn it on and off easily.
- Repair any dripping taps – it is usually just a new washer that is needed.
- A constantly dripping overflow pipe is a warning sign that your system requires some maintenance – get it fixed as soon as possible.
- If the heating fails or makes a loud banging noise, this could indicate that a pipe is freezing. Turn off the boiler and call a plumber immediately.
If you experience a burst pipe:
- Turn off the water supply at the main stop valve.
- Contact an approved plumbing and heating engineer.
- If your pipes freeze, never use a naked flame to thaw them out. A hot water bottle or hairdryer on low heat will help a gradual defrost – and always start from the end nearest to the tap.
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