A ‘weatherbomb‘ has the UK firmly in its targets, and frost, hail, gale-force winds and freezing temperatures have underlined the fact that the winter months are upon us. The weather might seem very bad at the moment, but it could get far worse as we reach January and February – there might be weeks or months of freezing temperatures ahead of us.
247 Home Rescue is gearing up to respond to a seemingly endless number of plumbing emergencies and burst pipes in the coming months, but what can you do to prevent these problems from afflicting you?
Prevent frozen pipes
- Set your central heating to come on at regular intervals. This will stop your pipes from freezing.
- Use a central heating timer if your home will be unoccupied for a while – nobody wants to come back from holiday to walk into a plumbing emergency!
- Insulate the water tanks and water pipes in your loft, using a high-quality thermal pipe insulation.
- If you notice dripping taps or any other plumbing leaks, fix them as quickly as possible.
- Know where your stopcock is and check it is not seized up.
If your pipes freeze up
If your pipes freeze up, you can minimise the damage this causes with the following tips:
- Turn your stopcock off the moment you notice a pipe has frozen.
- Gently heat the pipe up with a hot water bottle or a heat wrap. Don’t use a flame or expose the pipe to excessively high temperatures – this can weaken the pipe and lead to a leak.
- When you have thawed the pipe, turn your stopcock on again and check that your plumbing works properly.
- Find out more on ‘My Pipes Have Frozen – Help!‘
If a pipe bursts
- Turn off the stopcock
- Switch off your central heating.
- Turn off any other water installations.
- Drain your system by turning on all your taps.
- Follow our advice on repairing burst pipes, or make a claim on your plumbing and drainage cover.
Winter home emergencies
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the average home insurance claim for burst pipe damage is between £6,500 and £7,500. This goes to show, the simple, effective steps you can take to protect your plumbing system can be incredibly cost-effective – a stitch in time really does save nine!
Head of Property for the ABI Aidan Kerr said that “widespread and expensive” damage occurs every winter as a result of burst pipes.
“Prevention is better than cure”, he pointed out, arguing that a home insurance policy might cover water damage, but cannot recompense someone for “misery and inconvenience”.