Churchill magazine

Tips to protect your home against freezing weather

Updated on: 18 December 2020

A street is covered in a blanket of snow.

Plunging winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze, leading to all sorts of problems and damage. This guide will help you prepare your home for freezing weather, explain what to do in an emergency and more.

Preparing your home for freezing weather

If a cold spell is on its way, there are a few simple actions you can take to help prevent the pipes in your home from freezing.

  • Insulate pipes with lagging. Don’t forget the corners, and make sure you’ve lagged any pipes you might have outside.

  • Check to make sure your loft insulation is around 10 inches deep. If you have a water tank, make sure it’s also insulated – but not underneath, so warm air can circulate.

  • Find your main stopcock and make sure that you can turn it on and off.

  • If you have any taps that have a tendency to drip, now’s the time to fix them. This will help prevent problems when the cold weather comes. And don’t forget any taps that are outside.

  • Check to make sure your boiler has been serviced by a Gas Safe professional, preferably in the summer to give you enough time to have any work done before the cold weather sets in.

  • Insulate your home with draught proofing to any gaps in windows or doors.

  • If you’re away from home for a few days, keep the heating on at about 15 degrees to protect against any sudden temperature drops.

  • If you’re away for a longer period of time, it might be wise and more cost effective to shut down the system completely. Turn off all the mains, stopcocks and drain down pipes, toilets and radiators.

Download home freezing guide

Dealing with frozen pipes

If the pipes in your home have frozen, follow these steps to help prevent or limit any damage.

  • Turn the water off, drain the system and leave the taps open.

  • A good way to thaw out frozen pipes is to use a hairdryer. Just run the hairdryer up and down the pipes a section at a time. If you’ve found a leak, put something underneath to collect water. Only use a hairdryer when safe to, being very careful if near water. If the pipe is damaged, the water could spray up and cause electrocution.

  • If you’d rather, you could use a hot water bottle tied to the pipes with a towel. But whatever you do, don’t use a naked flame like a blow torch to thaw your pipes as you could cause some serious damage.

  • If your pipes thaw and they don’t seem to be damaged, slowly open your stopcock until water starts running through the taps again. Then you can turn your taps off.

  • If your pipes have burst and you need help, contact us and our team will talk you through what to do.

Download frozen pipes guide

Making a claim

If you need to make a claim, contact us to get the process started.

Don’t start redecorating straight away as it can be several weeks, even months, before your home dries out fully. In the meantime, if you have contents cover with us, your claims advisor will work with you to draw up an inventory of damaged contents and can arrange any emergency payments.

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