Britons warned to prevent frozen pipes now or risk ‘thousands of pounds worth of damage’

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Britons warned to prevent frozen pipes now or risk ‘thousands of pounds worth of damage’

Hazel Johnson, director of home and motor claims at Aviva, said: “Frozen and burst pipes are a serious problem and even one burst pipe can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage to someone’s home, not to mention the huge inconvenience of having to sort repairs during the height of winter.

“Once pipes burst, the high water pressure can flood an entire home, leading to severe structural damage that can leave a property uninhabitable for months.

“Escaping water can also cause problems with mould, alongside higher utility bills, damage to household contents and the loss of irreplaceable personal items.

“Preparing your pipes ahead of cold snaps is vital to protecting your property, as well as ensuring you have the right home insurance in place so that you aren’t left out in the cold if the worst does happen.”

1. Keep your house and pipes warm

Britons should make sure to set their heating to come on for an hour to two, especially if you won’t be in the house all day.

According to the expert, around 13C will help to stop pipes from freezing. While it can be tempting to keep the heating off to save on bills, it could end up causing damage in the long run.

2. Insulate exposed pipes

The expert said: “Insulate exposed pipes with specialist insulation called lagging, which you can usually buy from your local DIY store.

“Don’t forget exposed pipes in the loft or your cold water tank.”

3. Repair leaky taps

The excess water from leaky taps can sit in pipes and cause damage if it ends up freezing, according to Hazel.

She added: “Test each of your taps by turning them fully off. If any continue to drop, get them fixed.”

4. Turn the water off when travelling

If you’re leaving your house empty for an extended period, consider turning the water off and draining the system to prevent any damage while away.

The expert continued: “If you suspect you have a frozen or burst pipe, it’s a good idea to check with your neighbours that they have water first, just in case it’s a wider problem with the water supply.

“Switch off the main water supply using your stopcock and open all the cold taps to help relieve the pressure on the frozen pipe.

“Try and locate the frozen pipe by checking the obvious places, like outside or in unheated areas of the home. You could also check the flow of water from taps and toilets throughout your home.

“If you do find a frozen pipe, you can try gently thawing the affected area using a hairdryer on its lowest setting, a hot water bottle, or warm towels.

“It isn’t always easy to identify when a pipe is frozen. In most cases, it’s a good idea to call your home insurer or a reputable plumber for help.”

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