The current spell of freezing weather throughout the UK threatens to be quite costly. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) warns that damages from burst pipes and leaking water could top “£7 million [app. $11 million] every day this winter.”
The ABI calculated that damage caused by frozen and burst pipes and leaking water could total more than £650 million [over $1 billion] this winter. The severe winter weather last year, the coldest for thirty years, resulted in Britain’s insurers paying out “£644 million [$1.009 billion] to homeowners and firms following damage caused by escape of water.”
To reduce the risk of frozen and burst pipes during this winter, the ABI advised householders to:
— Ensure that loft water pipes and water tanks are insulated.
— Know where your stopcock that turns of the incoming water supply is, and make sure that it works.
— If you will be away from the home on holiday or on a Christmas break ensure that it is kept as warm as possible. If you are away for a long time it may be worth draining your cold water system.
If a pipe freezes:
— Thaw out the pipe using gentle heat such as towels soaked in warm water or a hairdryer. Don’t use a heat gun or blow torch.
— Remove furniture and carpet (where practical) near to the frozen pipe. This will minimize damage if the pipe bursts.
If a pipe bursts:
— Turn off the water at the stopcock.
— Switch off the central heating to avoid further damage.
— Open all taps to drain the system.
— Contact your home insurer for advice. Most provide 24 hour emergency helplines that will arrange for repairs to be carried out as soon as possible.
Nick Starling, ABI’s Director of General Insurance and Health, added: “Freezing winter weather may have arrived early this year, but insurers are ready to deal with the misery and disruption it can cause. As well as offering advice on how to keep your home safe this winter, insurers are poised to come to the aid of homeowners and businesses that have to face the often considerable damage that a burst pipe can cause.”
Source: Association of British Insurers
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