Protect your home against water damage
Preventing frozen pipes
- Insulate external pipes and any internal ones that are exposed to freezing, paying attention to corners and elbows of pipework as these tend to be the most exposed.
- Turn off any indoor valves on pipes leading to taps outside your home. Then open the outside tap and leave it open to let any water drain. This will ensure there's no water in the pipes to freeze.
- In cold weather, check all your taps in your home from time to time. If little or no water flows there may be frozen water in the pipes.
- If you're away from home during the winter, ask someone to check your home - this should help ensure burst pipes are spotted early and any damage is kept to a minimum.
Preventing water leaks
- Know where to find your stopcock and use it to cut off the flow of water if a pipe starts leaking. AA research shows that one in three homeowners don't know where their stopcock is.
- Fix any dripping taps as soon as possible to avoid a more a serious escape of water.
Burst water pipe
Turn off the water – Make sure everyone in the house knows where the stop cock to your mains water supply is located and how to use it. It’s usually located under the sink, bathroom, cloakroom, beneath the stairs or in the garage. Drain the pipe of water by turning on all cold taps and flushing all your toilets. Then switch off the water heating system and turn on all hot taps to help in draining the water supply system. Simply put when there is no water left in the pipe the leaking will subside.
Switch off the electricity mains – You should never touch wet electrical appliances; remind those in the house of this also. Then turn off the electricity mains without delay.
Exercise caution – If your household leak that has gone undetected for some time, in the attic for example, upstairs floors and ceiling may have become unstable under the weight of retained water. Never walk across a bulging floor as it could give way.
Call in the professionals. Once you have detected the site of the leak call for a plumber without delay. And depending on the severity of the water damage to your home you should call upon the services of a water damage restoration company. It’s important to remember that the secondary effects of the flood such as mould growth, corrosion and structural deterioration can be potentially more significant than the initial damage itself. A quick reaction time will help to curtail the amount of damage done and the cost to restore your home.
Call your home insurance provider immediately so that you can start your home insurance claim without delay. To talk to AA Home Insurance about your home insurance policy call 01 6179104. It’s also important from a home insurance point of view to document the extent of the damage immediately after it has occurred. Use a digital camera to do this if you can. Your home insurance providers will arrange for a home insurance accessor to come out and view your home.
Home central heating
- Have the central heating system in your home checked and serviced regularly. Try to get your boiler serviced in the summer to ensure that it's working efficiently before the winter comes.
- During the summer put the heating on for 15 minutes once a month. This should help clear grit from the boiler pump and will give you a chance to check that the system is working properly.
- If you are away from home in the winter, set your central heating to come on for a short period each day to prevent freezing. Don't be tempted to turn the heating off while you're away.
Loft insulation in your home
- A burst pipe in the loft could lead to serious water damage and the risk of a collapsed ceiling, so making sure your loft is well insulated in preparation for freezing temperatures is really worth the effort.
- Apply foam insulation to pipes in your loft and make sure joints and bends are covered. Lay the foam on top of the pipes and not beneath them.
- Make sure your water storage tank is well insulated, particularly if you think it's in a position where it may be at risk from freezing in very cold weather.
- When the weather is particularly cold, open the loft hatch to allow warmer air from the rest of your home to circulate in the loft.
If you're looking for home insurance you can get a quote online with AA Home Insurance.