As winter draws near and the chillier temperatures approach, safeguarding your home's pipes becomes crucial. AA Home Insurance has gathered a guide on why your pipes may be at risk and how to protect your pipes this winter.
Why do pipes have problems in winter?
Lower temperatures can lead to freezing pipes inside your home, causing the water flow to halt. When water freezes naturally, it expands, putting tremendous pressure on the pipes. This can cause your pipes to break, no matter the strength of the pipes.
How to protect your pipes this winter
Taking some simple steps can help keep your pipes protected and your home warm while also reducing your energy bills.
Wrap your pipes
Using a sponge cover to wrap your pipes is one of the best ways to protect your pipes. The sponge cover will help keep your pipes insulated, making them less likely to freeze. You should protect any water pipes that may be exposed to colder temperatures, such as garages and outdoor pipes. It is also good to keep doors closed in areas such as the garage if water supply lines are inside.
Keep your home warm
Having proper insulation in your home will keep you and the pipes warm. If there is a draft in some areas of the house, make sure these are insulated to keep the pipes warm. Alternatively, if you have pipes in the loft or the garage, a simple method to prevent them from freezing is to let warm air circulate from the warmer areas by leaving certain doors ajar.
Check and fix leaky taps
Check all taps inside and outside your home to ensure they are fully off and don't leak. Leaking faucets can cause your drains to freeze and overflow. Even the smallest trickle of water can cause pipes to freeze.
What to do if you have a burst pipe?
If your water pipes have burst, you should turn off the stop cock and contact a qualified plumber. Reach out to your water supplier if you are unsure where the stop cock is located. However, if your pipes are only frozen, you should act fast to stop them from bursting and flooding your home. You should treat the frozen pipe so the frozen water can begin to melt. This can be done by turning on taps, increasing the heat in your home to warm up the pipes or applying heat to the pipes. To find out more about dealing with a burst pipe, read our What to do if you get a burst pipe article.
Think about pipes in spaces that are rarely used
If you will be going away during winter or have holiday homes that won't be used for a period, then it is worth taking considerable action to protect your properties.
Keep your heating on
If you are not using your holiday home this winter, it is a good idea to have the heating come on a few times a day or to always have it on. Keeping your heating on will ensure that your water pipes remain at a constant temperature and, therefore, shouldn't freeze. It is recommended to leave the temperature at 13 degrees, especially during any sub-zero temperatures.
Turn your water supply off and drain the system
Alternatively, if you do not want to keep your holiday home heated throughout winter, you could shut off the water supply to your property's pipes. This is a less preferable option as it can lead to other issues down the line.
Arrange inspections regularly
Regular property inspections are crucial to ensuring coverage under certain insurance policies. Many policies will often not cover you if these checks are not completed. Having a caretaker or housekeeper who can regularly check your holiday home is safe will not only ease your mind but potentially save you a lot of money in the long run.
Peace of mind
Colder weather brings several challenges to homeowners. With AA, we can add protection for your property with options including Holiday Home Family Use and Holiday Home Out insurance. Or even better, become an AA member and get better discounts on Holiday home insurance.
Need more guidance on keeping your home safe this winter? Read the safety guide here.