A stop tap allows you to switch off the mains supply of water to your house –vital if there is a burst pipe. It is usually found under your sink or in the garage where the mains supply comes in. If you have a storage tank, you will probably find it nearer to this, perhaps in the airing cupboard or loft.
You might also have a drain tap. This allows you to drain your pipes after you have switched off the stop tap.
Insulate tank and pipes
Your cold water tank – usually found in the loft – should be insulated. It’s quick and easy to do this with a ready-made tank jacket from your local DIY store. Insulating your hot water tank will also retain heat for longer. You should also lag pipes with modern or rubber insulation – check yours are up to date. Proper insulation could save on energy bills too and helps the environment.
In winter, central heating not only keeps you warm, it can also help to stop pipes and tanks freezing. Maintain a steady temperature in all rooms so that pipes aren’t left out. You can even keep your heating on a low heat when you leave the house to ensure pipes don’t freeze when you are away.
Deal with draughts
Cold draughts coming into your home can be enough to freeze pipes, so seal draughts in floors and by skirting boards, invest in double-glazing, add draught excluding tape and use draught excluders around doors and letterboxes.
It’s good to get your boiler checked regularly and it’s wise to have it serviced before winter just in case. If you have an old system you may want to update to a condensing boiler that also saves energy.
Repair dripping taps
Make sure all taps are fully turned off when not in use, and if one still seems to drip, get it fixed. The washer may just have come loose so it may be a job you can do yourself. If you don’t fix dripping taps you not only lose water, but it could also freeze in the waste pipe causing a bigger flood.
Shut off your stop tap and waste tap (if you have one). Then open all taps in your home to drain water from the pipes. Call an electrician if electrical fittings are wet. And, of course, call a plumber. You can call our 24-hour Emergency helpline on 0800 400 695, and our team will put you in touch with a tradesman who can help.
Check pipes for signs of splitting. If pipes are intact, open all taps around the house and thaw the pipes with an electric fan heater or hairdryer. Don’t use a naked flame! If pipes have split or your central heating system has frozen, call a plumber.
How Churchill can help
Flooding, leaks and burst pipes are covered in several ways under our Home Insurance policy:
- We cover damage caused by storms and floods. For Buildings Insurance this doesn’t include damage to hedges, gates or fences.
- We cover water or oil escaping from any fixed water or heating installation or from any domestic appliance (such as your washing machine or dishwasher) and we cover any fixed water or heating installation freezing, which includes your boiler, tank and pipes. If you leave your home unoccupied for more than 30 days you forfeit this cover
- We can also pay for alternative accommodation and rent, and storage of contents if your home is damaged
- If you need to make a claim there are no forms to fill out. Simply call 0345 603 3599. New customers can protect their home against damage caused by leaks or floods with a Churchill home buildings and contents insurance. It’s quick and easy to get an online quote today, just visit www.churchill.com and see how much you could save.