To help homeowners avoid the problem, here’s a guide to some ways to minimise the risk of flooding your home in the big freeze:
- Leave your heating on at a minimum 13°C to stop water in pipes and radiators from freezing.
- Leave your loft hatch open so warmer air from downstairs can circulate in the roof space – particularly if you have a cold water tank in the loft.
- Make sure you know where your stop cock is so you can turn off water quickly in an emergency – and make sure its in good working order just in case
- Check the loft for insulation on water pipes and the lagging on the cold water tank – if you have none, get some quick – and remove any loft insulation from under the tank to let warm air rise
- Go green and insulate your loft – not only will this keep your home warm. Some councils offer this service for free, so check for grants in your area
- Leave your kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open – this will allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes that are often against cold walls at the back of cupboards.
- Seal any holes that let in cold air inside and out. With modern technology, increasing numbers of people have holes in the wall for computer cables or TV links. Plugging draughts is one thing, but you need to stop damp coming in from the outside as well
- If you’re going away, drain the water and heating systems. The group most badly affected by claims for water damage to their homes in the past couple of years were the over 50s spending the winter abroad.
- If you are away for an extended period, check that you have adequate home insurance cover. Many policies have restrictions on cover for unoccupied homes – make sure you know what these limits are.
- Check your insurance is up to date and you are covered for the full value of your contents
If in doubt about your home insurance cover, check out the policy or small print or get in touch with the insurer.