Protecting the home from winter weather

Recent reports have suggested we could be facing one of the coldest winters in years and discussions are already taking place about whether we could have a white Christmas.

With the colder weather also brings the threat of frozen pipes. In 2014 the ABI reported the average claim for a burst water pipe is between £6500 and £7500*. Since 2015, we’ve paid out close to £1 million on claims relating to frozen pipes.**

Now is a good time to make sure that your customers have taken steps to ensure that their home is as protected as possible against any damage that could be caused by the cold weather so that they don’t have to make a claim.

Carol Hughes, Head of Regional Broker said  

“The cold weather can catch people out and we don’t want your customers to be at risk. By taking some simple steps to protect their home, they can help minimise the risks from the cold weather on their home this winter”

Here are some useful hints you can share with your customers to help them protect their home:

Cold weather code

  • Check that the heating in your property is in good working order, and if you have an open fire, whether the chimney should be swept.
  • Check your loft insulation is the recommended dimensions and still in good condition.
  • Repair any dripping taps and leaking radiator valves.
  • Repair loose roof tiles and slates to reduce the risk of them falling off and check and clear your gutters.
  • Check windows and window frames are firmly fixed and with no possible gaps for rain to penetrate.

How to prevent damage from burst pipes

  • Insulate water tank and pipes wherever possible. Look at lagging pipes to conserve heat too and take care if they’re outside or in the loft.
  • Make sure you know where your stop tap is so that you can quickly switch the water off if a pipe bursts.

If despite your precautions, your pipes do freeze:

  • DO turn off the water at the main stopcock;
  • DO switch off the central heating and immersion heater; and
  • DO open the tap nearest to the part of the pipe you think is frozen so water can flow through once melted.

Holidays and weekend breaks

  • If you’re away visiting family or friends or off on holiday, we recommend keeping your heating on low, just in case the temperature should drop
  • If you do leave your heating on, open your loft hatch so that warm air can get to your pipes.
  • If you don’t want to leave your heating on, drain the whole system and turn water off at the mains.
  • Get a friend, relative or neighbour to keep an eye on your property every day.Always be cautious when undertaking any DIY task that you aren’t familiar with as you could injure yourself or those around you. Seek professional help where required. Remind your client that they are obliged to prevent loss or damage and to keep their property in sound condition and good repair.