Prepare your home for winter

As the evenings draw shorter and temperatures begin to drop, there are numerous ways you can protect your home, so you don’t get caught out this winter.

Planning ahead

Damage caused by water escaping is one of the most frequent causes of household claims in the winter. Regular maintenance will reap rewards, so:-

  • Have a professional plumber check your plumbing joints for leaks. Remember those which are hidden such as on dishwashers and washing machines and keep an eye out for green discolouration on copper pipes - this could be a sign of a leak. Pay special attention to plastic plumbing joints as they erode quicker than metal ones.
  • Review your insulation to protect your pipes from freezing.
  • Prevent your water supply stopcock from stiffening by testing it from time to time.
  • Carry out regular inspections of water tank ball valves for signs of erosion.

Watch out for frozen pipes

Tell-tale signs of a frozen pipe include no water coming from the tap, frost or ice on the outside of the pipe and if the pipe is bulging. If you act fast, a frozen pipe doesn’t always mean a burst pipe:-

  • Turn off the stopcock.
  • Remove any furniture or equipment from the area, which may get damaged by the water.
  • Open the tap closest to the area and begin gently warming the tap with a hairdryer or hot water bottle, starting from the end closest to the tap and working away from the faucet.
  • Remember, although damage to pipes occurs when they freeze, bursts only become apparent when the pipe begins to thaw.

In the event of a burst pipe

If it’s apparent that a pipe in your home has burst, you should:-

  • Turn off the stopcock and drain the system by opening taps in baths and sinks.
  • Seek professional advice.

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