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Warning as freezing weather set to continue

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As bitter temperatures continue to grip Europe and the UK Aviva warns homeowners to take a few simple steps to prevent freezing a bursting pipes drenching their homes.

Burst pipes are caused by the water inside the pipe expanding as it reaches freezing temperature. When it expands and there it no where to go the pipe can sometimes crack or burst.

One burst pipe in your house can mean water throughout the entire property, with the average cost of damage around £8,000.

For the homeowner this can mean months of disruption while their house is dried out and repaired. And if homes are left empty at holiday time, leaks often aren’t discovered for many days and so damage can get progressively worse.

Carole Gallagher, head of household claims, at Aviva said, “With the relatively mild start to the winter it’s easy to forget how quickly temperatures can plummet and many homeowners can be caught out by the arctic temperatures we are currently experiencing.

“Freezing and burst pipes can be a real problem – in some cases ruining entire floors of your home. The risk can be worse in traditional properties without modern heating systems or properly insulated pipes.

“And when homes are left empty, burst or leaking pipes often aren’t discovered for many days and so damage can get progressively worse so think about asking a friend or neighbour to pop in and check your home if you are escaping the cold for a half-term break in the sun.”

Aviva offered a number of tips for homeowners to minimise the risk of a burst:

 – If you can keep heating on a constant low temperature – especially if you are planning a weekend away. This means that water in pipes or tanks should never get cold enough to freeze and then burst

 – If you are going away for half-term get someone to check on your home, if a problem is spotted early the damage could be much less.

 – Make sure any loft hatches are open so that warm air from the rest of your house can circulate into the roof space

 – Know where your stop cock is – it is generally found underneath your kitchen sink. There should also be an access point for a stop cock outside your home (normally near your driveway)

 – Lots of lagging – one of the main causes of freezing pipes is a lack of lagging – so anyone attempting to do a bit of plumbing themselves, should bear in mind that pipes and tanks in the loft, or anywhere else liable to freeze, need to be properly lagged.

 – Insulate on top of pipes rather than underneath them, as insulation laid below the pipes will prevent rising heat reaching them.

 – Wrap up water tanks and cisterns in insulating jackets.