Average cost of frozen pipe claims has now reached £4,700

A cold snap can prove incredibly costly if you are unlucky enough to have a pipe burst at home, but there are some simple steps you can take to help prevent problems from occurring.

The latest claims data from NFU Mutual has shown the average cost of repairing and replacing damage to property was £4,700 in 2015.

Escape of water causes a huge amount of damage, whatever the cause, but burst pipe claims caused by frost damage are a particular concern at this time of year.

Homeowners can take a number of steps to protect their property before a cold snap. Prevention is always better than cure and protecting your plumbing before a drop in temperature can dramatically reduce the chances of any damage being caused.

If you discover an escape of water in your property, it’s important you act quickly but calmly. Turn off your water at the stop cock and drain the system by opening all the taps.

If damage is serious, then call your insurer to seek advice about professional help with drying out the property and getting repairs underway.

Here is NFU Mutual’s five step guide to deal with burst pipes:

1. Locate your stop cock

This will normally be located below your kitchen sink, or wherever the water supply enters your home. Make sure you can access it and close it easily.

2. Drain your system

If you’re planning on leaving your property unoccupied during winter, take a few moments to turn off the stop cock and drain the plumbing of both hot and cold water systems.

3. Get those pipes lagged

Well insulated loft spaces will get very cold in winter and so it’s important you give your water pipes extra lagging to help prevent them freezing and bursting.

4. Keep the heat flowing

Keeping the thermostat at a normal setting overnight or while your home is unoccupied will help to keep the building temperature above freezing.

5. Check your plumbing

Remember, any damage to pipes happens if the water in them freezes; but the escape of water only happens when the frozen pipes thaw out. Checking your pipes for signs of freezing or bursts such as leaking or dripping joints, will help you to react to a possible problem or nip it in the bud. Asking tenants to do the same will help to protect rental properties too.