10th December 2019

Don’t be Frozen this Winter

By Steve Moores, Dip CII
Account Executive
Castle in the snow

A man’s home is his castle, as the saying goes, and whether your house is as grand as Arundelle in the film Frozen, or a semi-detached, there are a few steps that you can take to ensure your pipes aren’t Frozen 2…Okay, okay, we’ll stop with the film puns…

Frozen pipes which then burst are a major cause of household claims. Just a small rupture can release gallons of water and the average cost to repair a burst pipe can average over £8,800*. And it’s not just about the cost. The disruption to your home life can be immense. When a pipe freezes, it expands, which results in cracks or a burst in the pipework. When the temperature rises and the pipes thaw, you’ll end up with a water leak, which left unchecked will damage your home and its contents.

The damage can be worse if you are away from your home for a period of time. However, there are a few things you can do before you leave your home for a few nights over the winter:

  • Ensure you leave the heating on in all areas of your home.
  • Turn off the water at the stopcock. Do you know where the stopcock is? It’s a good idea to test the stopcock regularly as they can tend to seize up and then fail to work in an emergency.
  • Make sure the boiler and heating system is serviced regularly and check that the thermostat is working correctly.
  • If you have a condensing boiler, make sure the waste pipe is insulated properly. These can themselves freeze up, causing the boiler to stop working.
  • Check the insulation of your water pipes and cold water tank – those in the attic or other vulnerable places should be lagged and well protected.
  • Fix any dripping taps. Water can freeze in the waste pipes, causing them to crack.
  • Keep gutters and drains clear, as blockage can prevent water being carried away from your home.
  • Make sure any outside taps or other external water supplies (ie ponds and water supplies to outbuildings) are isolated, especially if the outbuildings are not heated.

If your home is regularly unattended over the winter, consider fitting a water shut-off valve such as the LeakSafe system which allows you to easily isolate the water in your home or holiday home.

UK insurers pay out around £1.8m per day every year for escape of water claims – don’t let your home be one of those affected.

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