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Top tips to prevent burst and frozen pipes this winter

As winter approaches, landlords and other property owners need to take the right measures to prepare their properties against the cold weather and avoid potential disruption.

According to Halifax Home Insurance, the ‘Beast from the East’ earlier this year contributed to 86% more ‘escape of water’ claims in March 2018 compared to the year before, as a spike in frozen and burst pipes coincided with the extreme weather.

Tim Downes, senior claims manager at Halifax Home Insurance, said: “A burst pipe can be extremely stressful – especially if it happens at night or at the weekend, making it harder to track down an emergency plumber who can help get the house back to normal.

“These claims are more likely to happen during the winter due to pipes freezing and then bursting during the colder weather. Prevention is definitely better than the cure.”

Halifax Home Insurance has provided the following top tips to help you get ready for winter:

+ Set your thermostat to a minimum temperature around 12°C, even overnight - the heating costs are justified if it avoids a costly pipe freeze. Many thermostats have a winter option that routinely heats the system to keep pipes at the right temperature.

+ Insulate exposed pipes in basements, attics, garages, kitchen cabinets and on the outside of the house. Use UL-listed heat tape or foam rubber insulation where pipes are exposed to cold moving air.

+ If you’re going on holiday it might be worth shutting off and draining your water system (ask your provider for information on how to do this) or asking a neighbour to visit while you’re away to check for any leaks in the house.

And should the worst happen…

+ Turn off the main water supply at the stopcock - it’s worth checking you know where this is located.

+ Turn off your electricity supply, and avoid all electrical appliances.

+ Take photos of the damage – this will help support your claim.

+ Be sure to have your home insurance details to hand Halifax Home Insurance can provide customers with useful information, such as the number for a reputable plumber, through its 24-hour Emergency Homeline.

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