With the big thaw expected to hit most of the UK this weekend after weeks of freezing cold temperatures, you could need the following advice on how to prevent damage to their home:
- Check all of your the pipes to ensure none have frozen. Sometimes only certain pipes are affected so check you have tried all of the taps inside your property and also outside taps. If water runs in only one part of the house, a pipe in an outside wall or un-insulated crawl space is probably frozen.
- Thaw out the pipe by opening the tap nearest to the part of the pipe that you think is frozen – this lets the water flow more easily once it’s melted.
- If the pipe is in the loft, open up the loft hatch to let warmer air circulate.
- Thaw the ice in the pipe with a hot water bottle, cloth soaked in hot water or hairdryer (but keep clear of any water), starting at the end with the tap and working back toward the cold water tank. Don’t use a heat gun or blow torch.
- If you suspect the pipe has burst but the water in it is still frozen, turn off the mains water stop tap (turn it fully clockwise) which you can normally find under your kitchen sink or where the mains water pipe comes into your home. Also turn off the stopcock in your cold water tank – usually found in the attic.
- Drain the cold water system and reduce the water pressure by turning on all the cold taps in your home and flushing the toilet a few times.
- Switch off your central heating and heaters and drain the hot water system by turning on all hot taps.
- Call out a local plumber or call your home insurance emergency helpline for immediate assistance.
- Tell neighbours where the stop cock is in case there is a burst and you aren’t around. A saving of one less hour of water pouring through the house could save thousands of pounds.
- If you do have a frozen pipe move any furniture away from it before you start any remedial works. This should help minimise loss if it does eventually burst.
- Check gutters are not damaged by the heavy snow falls. As the thaw hits and warmer temperatures arrive any residual water could cause damage to properties if the gutter is broken or cracked.
- Don’t forget to check any empty properties you own, or any properties that are adjacent or nearby your home.
- Leave the heating on low throughout the night to avoid frozen pipes if the temperature is forecast to drop overnight. If your boiler has an ‘anti-frost’ mechanism this technology applies to just the boiler not all of the pipes as well.
John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “With temperatures expected to rise at the weekend, homeowners can take a few simple steps to ensure their home isn’t damaged as the snow and ice thaws out giving way to wet weather. It’s worth giving your home the once over just to check for unexpected damage and don’t forget to check garages and sheds where you might have outside pipes or store liquids that may have frozen, expanded and cracked their containers.”