Act now to prevent burst pipes this winter


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Take action to help prevent the inconvenience and misery caused by burst pipes during extremely cold weather.


It may have been a glorious summer, but the recent drop in temperature plunged the country into winter before many of us were ready.

And after the extreme weather at the start of the year meant claims for burst pipes jumped from £4m to £197m quarter-on-quarter, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has released advice to help homeowners prevent burst pipes rather than have to deal with the consequences.

A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your home and contents. Even the smallest crack can release a lot of water, which can soon cause problems with plasterwork, carpets and your possessions.  

To reduce the risk of frozen pipes this winter, the ABI recommends: 

  • Make sure your heating is on at regular intervals throughout the day and switch it to a timer if you’re going away.
  • Use good quality lagging to insulate water tanks and pipes in the loft.
  • If you don’t already know, find out where your stopcock is and make sure it works. (It’s often under the kitchen sink but check with a neighbour or plumber if you aren’t sure.) 
  • Repair any dripping taps.

Laura Hughes, the ABI’s Senior Policy Adviser, General Insurance said: “The key to preventing wintry weather-related headaches is preparation. So far, we’ve had a year of weather extremes, so it’s always prudent to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

“Taking just a few simple steps now and knowing what to do if the worst happens can protect your home and help reduce the misery of frozen and burst pipes this winter.”

If your pipes freeze and burst, the ABI advises:

  • If a pipe freezes, turn the water off using the stopcock. Thaw the pipe with a hot water bottle or wait for it to warm up.
  • Move any furniture or other items away from the frozen pipe in case it bursts.
  • If a pipe bursts, turn the water off at the stopcock. Switch off your central heating and open all taps to drain the system.
  • Contact your insurance company helpline for help and advice, and to arrange professional repairs. If you have Admiral Home Insurance, call 0333 220 2035.

For more information on what to do should the worst happen, take a look at our guide to protecting your home from burst pipes.

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