esure warns homeowners to reduce burst pipe risk while away over the half-term break
Friday 10th February 2012: As the big freeze continues(1) to sweep across the country, esure is warning homeowners planning on getting away next week for the half-term break to take steps to make sure that they don’t return home to a flooded home.
With the icy Siberian weather bringing with it ‘freezing rain’ and further snow to many parts of the UK(2), esure home insurance has compiled some practical advice for homeowners planning on leaving their home unoccupied to help avoid and minimise the devastating effect of an escape of water in a home caused by frozen or burst pipes.
What to do if you are going away this half-term?
- Leave your heating ’ticking over’ whilst you’re away so that your home stays warm(3).
- If you have an outside tap you can isolate it with its own stop-cock, run it dry and leave it open while you are away.
- Open your loft hatch to allow warm air into your loft space as this can prevent your from water tank freezing.
- Ask a trusted friend, neighbour or relative to pop in and check your home periodically.
Gordon Hannah, Director of Claims at esure said: “Last winter nearly every large burst pipe claim was a tragic blueprint. Families had gone away, freezing weather had caused their pipes to burst and they returned a day or two later to the widespread destruction of their homes and personal belongings. The cost of these claims is huge but the emotional impact and inconvenience to homeowners is worse.”
What to do to prevent an ‘escape of water’ claim this February:
- Check your pipe work. Make sure all of your taps and pipes are working properly and aren't leaking.
- Think about insulation. Insulate your loft and lag water pipes thoroughly.
- Don’t forget your outside tap! Turn off any outside taps or make sure they are protected from freezing temperatures.
What to do if you find a frozen pipe that hasn’t burst yet:
- Try to thaw the pipe manually. Use a hair dryer on a low heat setting, towels soaked in hot water or a sealed portable heater. Never use an electric fire or an open flame, such as a blowtorch.
- Turn on your tap regularly to check for free-flowing water. That means you’ve successfully defrosted the pipe.
- Watch out for leaks. If you find one, a pipe has unfortunately split.
- No water running at all? If your tap won't flow but you can't find the frozen pipe it may be hidden or inaccessible. Contact a licensed plumber for help immediately.
What to do if you suspect a split frozen pipe:
- Turn off your main stop-cock. Check it is safe to do so, particularly if you have a combi boiler but this the best way to minimise damage if a pipe has ruptured.
- Try to find the burst pipe that still contains ice. Then call a licensed plumber immediately.
- Leave all trickling taps open. Running water through pipes will help to melt the ice.
What to do if water is flooding your home:
- Turn off your main stop-cock. Check it is safe to do so but stopping the mains flow will limit damage considerably.
- Do you have Home Emergency cover? If you do call the 24 hour Home Emergency number provided.
- No cover? Call a plumber. Call a licensed plumber for help to control and reduce the damage caused by the escaping water.
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