As Scotland braces for the sharp drop in temperatures in the coming weeks, households are being warned of the increased risk of water pipes freezing.
While it may seem like a minor problem, failure to maintain your pipes can lead to serious damage to your property, not to mention the high cost of repairs, especially if it happens during the official holiday period – the Kingdom’s insurers United pay nearly £ 2million a day in water damage claims.
Steve Allen, Technical Expert at Harvey Water Softeners, explains how to avoid getting cold in freezing temperatures.
Recognizing when your pipes have frozen is essential to eliminating or completely reducing the damage it can cause to your home.
Three key signs your pipes are frozen
What to do if your pipes are frozen
If you suspect that your water main has frozen, you should follow these steps:
Turn off your water shutoff valve – this is usually found under the kitchen sink
Open all cold water faucets in the house, which will allow water to escape once the pipes begin to thaw
Start thawing the pipes – you can use a low heat hair dryer or try to bring a portable heater to the frozen area. You should start with the tap and work your way back to the frozen area
Once thawed, you should check for leaks by running a dry cloth along the pipe to see if you are blotting wet areas.
If there is no leak, turn the water back on at the shut-off valve
Are you covered by home insurance if your pipes burst?
If the worst happens and your pipes burst, you should immediately turn off the water supply to the network. The good news is that your home insurance should cover any damage that has been caused.
One Broker insurance expert and director Shaun Lenton explained: “The majority of insurance policies in the UK cover damage to a landlord’s property and contents caused by a burst pipe.
“Damage to the pipes themselves is not necessarily covered, especially if the failure is related to age or general wear and tear. Either way, it’s important to check your policy wording or speak to your broker if you’re not sure what’s covered.
He added, “When it comes to making a claim, your insurer will usually have 24 hour phone support, so you can get emergency contractors to attend and stabilize the situation with full repairs. to be continued in due course.
“If you decide to fix the problem yourself, our advice would be to take as many photos as possible first and report the incident to your insurer as soon as possible. You should also keep all receipts and estimates for work undertaken for future reference.
The best tips for maintaining your pipes this winter
A water softener installer for several years, Steve Allen has seen water pipes in all kinds of conditions.
Here are his top tips for preventing your pipes from freezing.
Invest in insulation
While it may seem obvious, insulating your pipes with sponge blankets is an absolute treat, and it’s a small investment compared to the costs of repairing a burst water line.
You should be especially careful with pipes in unheated spaces in your home such as the attic.
Keep your heater at a constant temperature
While it’s tempting to turn down your thermostat at night to save on your energy bills, keeping the settings as consistent as possible during the day and night will help keep your pipes from freezing.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that British households have a room temperature of 18 ° C in winter.
Open bathroom and kitchen cabinets
Giving your pipes access to heated air is essential to help prevent ice blockages and pressure build-ups. While you don’t need to keep your closets open all the time, it’s a good idea to open them before bed if you’re expecting a particularly cold night.
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Isolate your garden faucet
Although a garden faucet is outside the property, if frozen, a gasket inside the property can separate and leak.
Close the indoor isolation valve and leave the garden valve open. If the garden faucet does not have its own isolation valve, the faucet and piping should be heavily insulated. Specially designed faucet covers are available at most home improvement stores.
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