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Prevent Frozen Pipes
14/12/2017

Some Tips For You and Your Home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extreme winter weather in recent years has produced freezing temperatures for prolonged periods in the UK. Subsequently, thousands of empty homes suffered burst pipes and leaks – causing substantial water damage.

The cost and inconvenience caused by the escape of water can be extensive and stressful. A small pipe fracture can release thousands of gallons of water if left unnoticed. The average escape of water insurance claim is an estimated £25,000, however, £100,000+ repair bills for water damage to the buildings, contents and drying out are not uncommon.

Many burst pipe claims can be mitigated or prevented by following these simple tips.

 

LEAVE THE HEATING ON

One of the main causes of frozen pipes is switching the heating off completely when your home is left empty. While this will save money in terms of fuel bills, it will expose your home to sub-zero winter temperatures and the expense of repairing damage should pipes burst.

Keeping the heating on will help prevent water still in the pipes from freezing, as water is continuously flowing. It is recommended to leave the heating permanently on (at least 13 degrees C), especially during cold snaps.

 

DRAIN DOWN THE SYSTEM

 

If you are leaving your home unoccupied during winter or if your heating isn’t capable of preventing frozen pipes, drain down and shut off the water/central heating system so that there is nothing in the pipes to freeze. Simply turning off the water is not sufficient as there is still a lot of water in the system and tanks, which can cause substantial damage if a burst pipe occurred. Drain the system down.

 

LAG PIPES AND INSULATE TO PROVIDE EXTRA PROTECTION AGAINST FROST

Pipes in unheated areas, including lofts, attics, crawl spaces, basements or those fixed to the inside of external walls are most at risk from freezing. Pipes are often situated above the insulation, leaving them exposed to freezing temperatures. Pipes should be lagged using insulating foam sleeving – the thinner the pipe the thicker the insulation should be.

The same applies to external pipes located in outbuildings that are likely to freeze in cold spells.

 

ALLOW WARM AIR TO CIRCULATE UNHEATED AREAS

Claims data from previous winters found that water leaking from exposed pipes in the loft was the source of the majority of escape of water claims. Primarily caused by insufficient circulation of warm air.

In addition to insulating, during freezing temperatures leave your loft hatch door open to allow the warmer air from your home to circulate up and around the water tank and pipes.

It is also a good idea to leave cupboard doors under the kitchen sink and bathroom cabinets open so that warm air can circulate around pipes that are exposed to the cold or fixed to outside walls

 

PROTECT WATER TANKS AND CYLINDERS

 

Although all new water storage tanks should be insulated, older ones will benefit from a hot water jacket. Don’t place loft insulation directly under header tanks though, as this stops heat rising from below to warm the tank.

 

CHECK YOUR STOPCOCK

 

Know where your stopcock is, as quickly turning off the main water supply during a burst significantly reduces the damage caused by the escape of water. It is usually located somewhere on the ground floor. Test the stop tap regularly to ensure you can turn it off.

 

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