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Protecting your home in winter

If your home or business suffers a burst pipe during winter, you could be left with no water and a large bill to repair the damage to your property.

You need to be careful in winter not to let your pipes freeze, especially if you are going away.

Firstly check that you are insured for burst pipes - if you are uncertain contact your insurer. As well as checking your insurance, take steps to make sure your pipes don't freeze in the first place by following the simple steps below.

Avoiding frozen pipes

  • Insulate water tanks and lag pipes
  • Pay special attention to unheated areas like lofts and garages
  • Check property's regularly that are empty
  • Fix dripping taps
  • Make sure you know where your stopcock is
  • Has your boiler been serviced?
  • Minimise drafts from doors and windows
  • If you are away, leave the heating on low
  • If properties are empty for a long time turn off the stopcock
  • Drain outdoor taps and wrap with an outdoor tap jacket
  • Don't forget about outbuildings and check water supplies and insulation

What to do if a pipe freezes

  • Turn off the water supply
  • Check if the pipe has burst
  • Open affected tap and slowly thaw with hot water bottles or towel soaked in hot water
  • Never go near with a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw pipe

What to do if a pipe bursts 

  • Turn off the stopcock and boiler
  • Open all taps to drain system
  • Call a qualified plumber
  • If they're near electrics, switch them off at the mains
  • Turn off the taps once the pipe work is repaired to avoid further flooding

Winter pipe shopping list

  • Warm jjackets - British Standard tank jackets, that come in a a wide range of tank sizes
  • Pipe lagging - This comes in 1 meter lengths and is ready-cut down the centre. Choose the right diameter for your pipes.
  • Strong tape - Sturdy cloth tape or insulation tape will help cover the joins
  • Tape measure - Check how much insulation you'll need to buy
  • Sharp scissors - To trim off the excess lagging and help make the joins neat
  • Wrap the tape - Your outside tap can be protected with a tap jacket or even a towel 

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