We’re about to be hit by the coldest winter in eight years, or so the newspapers tell us, so it’s important that homeowners do all they can to protect their properties and ensure that they withstand whatever the winter weather has to throw at us.
According to the Daily Express, some serious snow is headed our way, with 32 days of ice and snow expected and temperatures falling to as low as -13 degrees C in some parts of the country.
The Weather Company’s meteorologist, Eleanor Ball, had this to say about what we can expect to see over the next few weeks: “We expect this winter to be different to the last seven milder winters we have had, with an increased risk for colder intrusions across the northern half of Europe and below normal temperatures through January and February.
“But the cold snap could begin as early as next week. We do think that next week’s ‘battleground’ scenario could recur several times in the weeks ahead, giving the potential for further snowfalls in the run-up to Christmas.”
So what does this mean for our pipes? New research from Halifax Home Insurance has just revealed that the Beast from the East resulted in 86 per cent more escape of water claims in March this year, compared to the same time the year before… with an increase in frozen and burst pipes coinciding with the terrible weather.
Tips from the company to help you prevent burst and frozen pipes include setting your thermostat to a minimum temperature, about 12 degrees C – keeping it like this even overnight. You might well baulk at the thought of your heating bills but just think about what the costs could be if your pipes do burst – water damage certainly isn’t cheap to sort out!
You should also consider insulating any exposed pipes you might have in your attic, basement, garage, kitchen cabinets or on the outside of the house. If pipes are exposed to cold moving air, consider using foam rubber insulation or UL-listed heat tape.
Those of you planning on a fun festive getaway might want to shut off and drain your water system, or ask a trusted friend or neighbour to check on your house for leaks while you’re away.
Of course, even with all these precautions you may well suffer a burst or frozen pipe anyway so it’s vital that you do know what to do if the worst does happen. Turn your water supply off at the stopcock, turn off the electrical supply and then take photos of the damage to help support your insurance claim.
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