Beat burst pipe misery as Britain braces for the big freeze

As Britain faces sub-zero temperatures this week, leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is advising homeowners to prepare their property for winter’s worst.

Statistics from NFU Mutual show that in 2016 claims for mopping up damage caused by burst pipes averaged a massive £5,000.

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As the Met Office predicts freezing conditions across much of the UK this week, the insurer is advising homeowners and businesses to take steps to protect their plumbing and avoid the misery of burst pipes.

Jon Cawley, Head of Claims at NFU Mutual said: “Water damage from pipe bursts can result in a huge amount of damage to homes and ruin people’s precious belongings leading to huge heartache and misery.”

“However, there are simple steps homeowners can take to protect their properties before a cold snap, which can dramatically reduce the chances of pipes freezing.”

“If the worst happens, and you discover an escape of water in your property, it’s important you act quickly but calmly. First, turn off your water at the stop cock and drain the water system by opening all the taps. If escaping water is near any electrical equipment, turn off the electricity too. Pipes tend to burst at the end of a cold spell when frozen water trapped in pipes expands as the ice melts – so check your home for leaks and drips when temperatures rise above zero.

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“If damage is serious, then call your insurer to seek advice about professional help with drying out the property and getting repairs underway. More information about coping with winter weather at home, at work and on the roads is available at our website”

NFU Mutual’s five-step burst pipe guide:

1. Locate your stop cock

This will normally be located below your kitchen sink, or wherever the water supply enters your home. Make sure you can access it and close it easily.

2. Drain your system

If you’re planning on leaving your property unoccupied during the winter months, turn off the stop cock and drain the plumbing of both hot and cold water systems.

3. Get those pipes lagged

Well-insulated loft spaces get very cold in winter and so it’s important you give your water pipes extra lagging to help prevent them freezing and bursting.

4. Keep the heat flowing

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Keeping the thermostat at a normal setting overnight or while your home is unoccupied will help to keep the building temperature above freezing.

5. Check your plumbing

Checking your pipes for signs of freezing or bursts such as leaking or dripping joints, will help you to react to a possible problem or nip it in the bud. Asking tenants to do the same will help to protect rental properties too.