Preparing your home for winter
As the winter period of extreme weather sets in, we share some guidance to help protect your homes.
During extreme weather events, damage caused by water escaping inside the home is one of the most frequent causes of home insurance claims. Freezing temperatures can mean freezing pipes – and an ensuing flood should they burst.
You shouldn’t let frozen pipes or a thawing disaster ruin your winter; you can lessen costly disruption and damage to your belongings by preparing for the change.
- It isn’t worth lowering the heating too much. It may save on the heating bill, but is it worth the risk of a frozen pipe? You should leave your central heating on low at around 15°c to prevent existing water from freezing.
- An alternative solution, particularly in the event of extended absence from the home, is to drain the plumbing system entirely. Seek professional advice should you consider this appropriate.
- Ensure that pipes in unheated areas like lofts and, where accessible, under floor spaces are insulated with high quality foam lagging.
- Water tanks in lofts should also be insulated, but your should avoid insulating under the tank as heat from the house will help prevent it from freezing.
- Maybe have someone keep an eye out on your home, and ensure they know where the stopcock is should they find a leak.
Home improvements in the pipeline?
If you are planning any DIY, you should consider the following;
- Avoid drilling or hammering nails in to pipes by using a pipe detection device; you can’t always predict where pipes are located!
- Try to source all plumbing materials from the same supplier, particularly when working with plastic plumbing as it is more prone to slight gaps in joints and fittings.
- If working in a ‘water zone’ area, such as a shower tray, make seals and joints as watertight and sturdy as possible.
Want to keep on top of things?
Year-round maintenance will reap rewards come winter, so you should;
- Try to make a routine of checking plumbing joints for leaks every so often, remembering those which are hidden such as on dishwashers and washing machines. During inspections keep an eye out for green discolouration on copper pipes as this suggests a leak, and should pay special attention to plastic plumbing joints as they erode quicker than metal ones.
- Insulate your loft to protect pipes and, in severe winter conditions, consider leaving your loft door open to heat the space.
- Prevent your stopcock from stiffening by testing it from time to time.
- Make regular inspections of water tank ball valves for signs of erosion.
- Try not to procrastinate and fix even slight leaks as soon as possible to avoid more serious issues later.
- Keep a close eye out for frozen pipes; tell-tale signs include no water coming from the faucet, frost or ice on the outside of the pipe, and bulging of the pipe.
Discovered a frozen pipe?
If you act fast, a frozen pipe does not always mean a burst pipe if you;
- Turn off the stopcock.
- Remove any furniture or equipment from the area which may get damaged by melting ice and water.
- Open the tap closest to the area, and begin gently warming the pipe with a hairdryer or hot water bottle, starting from the end closest to the tap and working away from the faucet.
Remember, although damage to pipes occurs when they freeze, bursts only become apparent when the pipe begins to thaw.
Sprung a leak?
You should turn off the stopcock and drain the system by opening taps in baths and sinks.
Looking for advice on your home insurance? Speak to one of our experts today. Call us on 02920 626 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org