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After an unseasonably mild start to winter 2022, it looks as though the ‘big freeze’ might be finally on its way. Or as one forecaster put it, the Troll from Trondheim”, in reference to the area of low pressure in Norway that could head our way, bringing with it the first snow showers of winter.

Weather experts are forecasting a dusting of snow for the UK within the coming weeks, mainly for those on higher ground, but the rest of the country might experience a few festive flakes as well.

Whether or not we see a heavy dusting of snow this side of Christmas is notoriously hard to predict, but one thing’s certain – the temperature has dropped, and with that comes the danger of burst pipes as the water in them freezes, then expands causing them to rupture.

Rising costs

Escape of water claims cost insurers millions of pounds each year. Figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggest £1.8m per day, and claims are only getting more expensive. Underfloor heating, multiple bathrooms, construction methods, and a trend towards hidden piping all contribute towards rising average claims costs for escape of water incidents – pushing up the cost of home insurance, and causing untold distress to policyholders who suffer an incident.

There are some ways to mitigate the costs should an incident occur: leak prevention technology can alert a homeowner to an escape of water earlier, before the damage becomes catastrophic, and as temperatures plummets, there are several steps homeowners themselves can take to reduce their chances of experiencing a burst pipe.

Lagging preparation

Rather than wait for freezing conditions, steps can be taken at any time of the year to prepare for a cold snap. One of the best, and cheapest ways to prevent pipes bursting is by investing in lagging for pipes and water tanks, this can be bought cheaply and installed without professional help.

The key areas to focus on are:

  • Water tanks – particularly those in colder areas such as basements, garages and unused lofts
  • Outdoor pipes (including outdoor taps) – heating, drainpipes and overflow pipes can be susceptible to the cold, so it’s important to locate and insulate them, paying careful attention to bends and valves
  • Pipes in cold areas – such as basements and garages, any pipe that can get cold, could be at risk of freezing and bursting
Safe and warm

Keeping a good flow of warmer air around the property can decrease the chances of a burst pipe, allowing warm air to circulate around cold zones, like lofts and storge cupboards, can keep a nice consistent temperature throughout the property.  Pay careful attention to drafts around doors and windows to keep the temperature consistent.

It’s also essential to get boilers serviced regularly, an efficient heating system is key to avoiding cold spots (and keeping warm and safe throughout the colder months).

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