Advertorial feature

Water, water everywhere

The memories of the winter freeze may have faded, but for those who had a serious burst pipe incident at home, you may only just be finding things returning to normal as the damage may have taken months to put right.

The problem occurs when water in pipes freezes and expands - potentially cracking them. At this stage, you may not even be aware that anything has happened. However, when it becomes a little warmer, and the temperature in lofts and attics rises above freezing, this ice then melts and seeps out of any cracks it may have caused.

Wet walls, sodden carpets and damaged furniture and possessions take time to fix and may require professional drying out. Insurers paid out millions to deal with these claims, many of which happened at the end of last year and early in 2011. The Association of British Insurers estimated that during the winter freeze crisis, the industry would have paid out around £7 million a day due to the damage caused by burst pipes.

To guard against this, the right level of buildings and contents insurance is important. Those without home insurance may struggle to cope - you may need to pay for builders, plumbers, and electricians, as well as replacing damaged goods.

Most insurance providers will cover for escape of water claims, but it is often best to check that you have protection in this area. Escape of water claims can be covered both on your buildings insurance - since areas like plastering or floorboards may need repairing - and your contents insurance, as items like your TV could be impacted.

Bursting to take control?

Meanwhile, if you do have a burst pipe, what should you do? Firstly, turn off the water supply. This means you should know where the main stop tap is - often it is under the kitchen sink. Then, drain the cold water system by turning on all the taps, followed by turning off the water heating system. It is also important to turn off the electricity supply and avoid touching any light sockets or appliances.

Don't try and fix anything yourself - contact your insurance company as soon as you are aware of the problem to report what has happened and they may supply details of local approved plumbers. If you spot a pipe is merely frozen, you may be able to thaw it out before it bursts, using hot towels or a hairdryer - taking care to keep the dryer well away from any water - and opening the tap nearest to the suspected problem, to allow water to drain away. If the leak is small, it could also be a good idea to mop up any excess water as soon as possible. This can help minimise damage to your flooring.

Burst pipes can cause a lot of disruption and mess, so preventing them is the best strategy. This can be done by insulating pipes, the loft and water tanks. If you have existing insulation, check out that this is still fit for purpose, rather than just having a cursory glance through the loft hatch.

And, if you are going away during cold weather, you should try and leave heating on low if possible and ask someone to call in and check all is well. Leaving your home cold and empty for an extended time increases the likelihood of a problem and more damage. Turning off your water supply before you leave could also be a good idea, helping prevent a potential flood if a pipe were to break whilst you're away.

The past few winters have been exceptionally cold and while it's not pleasant to think about, getting ready for winter now means you are less likely to face problems when the temperatures start to fall.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Trainee Recruitment Consultants

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...

    Helpdesk Analyst

    £23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

    Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

    £27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

    Senior Pensions Administrator

    £23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London