Winter is definitely here and Britain is enduring another day of sub-zero temperatures. During these times your home, holiday home and commercial buildings may be at risk of the devastating consequences of burst pipes. Escape of water damage is one of the most common types of home insurance claims in the UK. Even a small leak can cause a significant amount of damage to your property and its contents.
When disaster strikes, there is no substitute for insurance. Check your property insurance covers escape of water damage for peace of mind. You must ensure you comply with any winter heating warranties and un-occupancy terms outlined in your insurance policy wording, as failure to fulfil your insurance obligations could leave your property uninsured for the escape of water.
Prevention is always better than cure – so here are a number of simple measures you can take to help prevent frozen pipes over the winter months Leaks may start slowly at first, almost unseen – but could lead to devastating damage and disruption if ignored. Here are some tips on what to be aware of:
- Make sure you always know the location of your stop-cock and make sure you can turn it off if necessary
- If you are away, even if only overnight, leave the heating on continuous on a low heat setting and get a friend or neighbour to check the property. Keeping the heating on means that water in pipes will remain at a constant temperature and should not get cold enough to freeze.
- If you are leaving a property un-occupied for a longer period, turn the water supply off at the main stop-cock and consider draining down the system so there is no water left in the pipes.
- Pipes in unheated areas, especially the loft, garage, cellar or those fixed to the inside of external walls are the primary cause of escape of water claims. Pipes are often situated above insulation, leaving them exposed to freezing temperatures. Make sure you have adequate insulation around water tanks and that you have lagged pipes
- Water leaking from exposed pipes in the loft was the cause of the majority of burst pipe claims. This is primarily caused by insufficient warm air circulating into the loft because the insulation below the pipes was so effective. Keeping your loft hatch open can help the warmer air to circulate into the loft area.
- Fix dripping taps
- Check your boiler has been serviced
- Drain the residual water between the internal valve and outside tap by shutting off internal valve and keeping outside tap on thus letting any residual water flow through.
For more information, check out the Water UK website Avoid frozen or burst pipes | Water UK
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer damage, remember we are here to help you so contact us as soon as possible to report the burst pipe. We can advise on the procedure and the next steps.
If you need advice on what cover you need, and the small print to look out for, contact Bargate Insurance now and we will be happy to help you to find the best policy.