Right now, we’re all particularly conscious of the need to save energy, but there can be problems with talking that too far. Over this winter, insurance firms have recorded a substantial increase in insurance claims for burst pipes — and, with more cold snaps possible before spring, the danger isn’t over yet.
The problem comes when pipes have no hot water flowing through them for extended periods. Even if the temperature doesn’t get down to zero at night, the water in the pipes can freeze up, creating cracks. When the ice thaws, the pressure on the cracks can burst the pipes and flood your home.
This is an ongoing issue every winter, especially when a property is left empty and unheated, and the insurer’s loss adjuster may sometimes take the view that this constitutes negligence and refuse the claim. This year, however, it’s worse. With energy bills reaching terrifying heights, many people are taking any opportunity to keep their heating off, and each case of this is a potential burst pipe.
Even if we don’t have any further cold spells, the damage could still have been already done. If you’ve had your heating off over the winter, you could see your pipes bursting as they thaw out. So you’ll need to keep your eyes open.
How to Protect Your Pipes
Obviously, you don’t want burst pipes in your home. Quite apart from the disruption to your life, there’s always the risk that, if you have to make an insurance claim for it, you could be left to foot the bill, because the loss adjuster turns you down.
However, there are precautions you can take:
- Make sure all visible pipes and cold water tanks are insulated or lagged, especially if they’re in a small space, such as an attic.
- If you have any tanks or pipes shut away, open them up to the warm air flow every so often.
- Even if you don’t want your heating on full when you’re going to be away for a while, you don’t have to switch it off entirely. Instead, either set your thermostat low or set your timer to come on periodically, so there’s warm water flowing.
- If you have outside taps, shut them off while you don’t need them and then drain off the supply, so there’ll be no water in the pipes to freeze.
- Leaking taps can fill your pipes, leaving them at risk of freezing, so check if any of your taps are leaky and repair them.
- If you’re going to be away for any extended period, turning the water supply off will mean there’s no water in the pipes to freeze.
These steps should ensure that your pipes are safe from bursting. However, if that does happen in spite of everything, you’ll have done enough that Allied Claims can be sure of getting a full pay-out for you when you make a claim.
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