With Britain already being hit by an arctic blast and with more bad weather set to stick around for the weekend, it is imperative you check your property to prevent damage.
As the Met Office forecasts freezing conditions and snow in some parts of the UK, plumbing in properties could be in threat. In particular, there is a real threat of pipes bursting, unless they are sufficiently protected.
Rob Mayo, Property Specialist at NFU Mutual, observed: ‘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. Landlords and tenants can take a number of steps to protect their property before a cold snap. Prevention is always better than cure and protecting plumbing before a drop in temperature can dramatically reduce the chances of any damage being caused.’
‘If a tenant discovers 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,’ he added.
Follow these five measures in order to protect yourself against pipe damage and save you claiming on your landlord insurance:
Find the stop cock-Usually, the stop cock is located under the kitchen sink, or wherever the water supply enters your home. It is vital you know where it is and how to close it off.
Drain the system-Should you be thinking of leaving your property unoccupied, be sure to turn off the stop cock and drain the plumbing of hot and cold water systems.
Lag the pipes-In Winter, even insulated loft spaces will get cold. As such, it is very important that you take the time to lag your pipes, to stop them freezing and bursting.
Keep heat in-Make sure you keep your thermostat at a normal setting overnight, or during unoccupied periods, to keep the temperature above freezing.
Assess your plumbing-It is important to remember that damage to pipes occurs when water in them freezes. Water only escapes when pipes thaw out. It is very important to check pipes for signs of freezing and bursts. These include dripping joints or leaks. Make sure you get your tenants to assess the pipes too, in order to alleviate problems early.