The freezing temperatures followed by a thaw in mid-December caused extensive burst pipes across much of the UK and with it brought misery to many businesses and households.
Graeme Fitzpatrick, Woodgate & Clark Operations Director, said “Our adjusters and claim teams have been helping customers restore their businesses and homes as part of our UK wide surge plan. With parts of the UK in the grip of more freezing temperatures (Heathrow recording its lowest temperature in more than a decade) there is the possibility of yet further burst pipes over what has already been a severe winter.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are on stand by for the possibility of burst pipe support for customers being required.”
In the meantime, Woodgate & Clark are advising all business and home owners to follow the advice issued by the ABI to reduce the risk of frozen and burst pipes this winter.
· Insulate water pipes and water tanks and use draught excluders around doors to help keep your premises warm and reduce energy bills. More information is available here: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/
· Smart thermostat usually have an anti-frost setting to keep your premises heated to a very minimal temperature that will stop pipes from freezing. If you do not have a smart meter, most radiators will have a setting with a snowflake symbol – turn to this setting to allow minimal water flow between pipes and radiators to prevent freezing. Consider setting the heating on a timer if you are leaving the premises for a sustained period.
· Know where your stopcock, that turns off the incoming water supply, is and test that it works. It is usually found under the sink. If you cannot locate it, seek advice from an approved plumber.
· If you are leaving the premises unoccupied, consider turning off the water at the stopcock to reduce the risk of pipes freezing and bursting.
· Repair any dripping taps or leaks. This will help prevent water from freezing.
If your pipes freeze the ABI advice is to:
· Immediately turn the water mains off via the stopcock. Wait for the pipes to warm up, or you can try and thaw them with a hot water bottle.
· Do not attempt to dislodge the ice using a hammer or melt it with a blow touch, it is highly likely that this will cause more damage.
· Move any possessions, furniture or equipment which are near frozen pipes in case the pipe bursts.
If your pipe bursts the ABI advises:
· Turn off the water at the stopcock. Switch off central heating and any other water heating installations. Open all taps to drain the system.
· Move any possessions, furniture or equipment, to prevent further damage to property.
· In both instances, contact your insurer straight away to seek advice, many insurers operate 24-hour helplines. They will advise on next steps and help to arrange for professional repairs to be carried out.
If you plan to leave your home unoccupied check your home insurance policy to see if there are any restrictions in cover or specific requirements if your home is left unoccupied for more than a specified period of time, such as 30 days or more.