Get prepared before it freezes
Snow and ice can look picturesque, but freezing temperatures can damage your home. Here are some hints to help you prepare for a cold spell.
- Put an emergency kit together - Keep a torch, candles and lighter, tinned food, warm clothing and blankets in a bag. Make sure you have some salt and a shovel.
- Make a list of emergency contacts - Add numbers to your mobile for a local trades such as a roofer, plumber and electrician and for your utility and insurance company#
- Insurance policy documents - Make sure you have these to hand.
Get your home winterproof
Avoid pipe damage by keeping your home warm. To help do this:
- Get your boiler and central heating serviced before the really bad weather sets in.
- Insulate your loft, pipes, water tank, and any exposed pipes in the garden.
- Leave your heating on and set your thermostat to at least 10°C.
- Hang thick curtains in living areas and use draft excluders under doors.
What to do during freezing weather
If you have a burst pipe follow these steps:
- Turn off the mains water supply.
- Turn off the electricity, central heating and immersion heater. If there is serious water damage, the electrical supply should be turned off completely and you should leave the house until a qualified electrician has inspected the electrical system and made sure it’s safe. Never touch the electricity supply if you’re standing in water.
- Drain the water system by running all the cold and hot water taps.
- Catch dripping water in buckets. If the ceiling starts to bulge slightly, pierce a few small holes in it to let the water drain through, but only if it’s safe to do so.
- Stay out of a room if the ceiling bulges significantly, don’t touch it.
What to do if your home is damaged by freezing weather
- Ring the claims line as soon as you can to let them know what’s happened.
- Remove any damaged contents. Don’t throw them away as you may need them later for your claim.
- Keep samples of your carpets and rugs if you can
- Take photographs and make a list of all damaged items to help support your claim.