How to Prevent Water Pipes Freezing and Bursting
It’s that time of year again when the bookies start speculating about a cold winter. The last big freeze in Ireland was in December 2010. It thawed out on new year’s day 2011 and we were very busy with claims. The majority of problems was frozen pipes in the attic space. As we all know water will expand when it freezes, with enough strength to split or burst a pipe (see pic). The above can be prevented if precautions are taken before the cold snap:
- Introduce heat into the attic space by means of a small heater
- Insulate all the pipes and tanks in the attic space. Make sure there are no gaps. Tape all joints tightly (see pic below).
- If leaving your house for holidays at least turn your mains water off. This can be done by a valve under the kitchen sink or at the stop cock on the pavement to the front of your house. It would be easier to engage a plumber do to do the above and to be safer you could ask the plumber to drain down the whole system (if there’s no water in the pipes then they won’t freeze
- Insulate the roof of the attic space between the rafters. This is a bigger job but it is standard practice in east European countries
Most home insurance policies will have an unoccupancy clause (i.e. your house could be deemed unoccupied if left empty for more than 30 consecutive days as an example. CHECKyour policy they all differ on the length of time and water damage is EXCLUDED in unoccupied houses on all policies. Insurers can check this by looking at utility bills. The good news is that pipe repairs in a freeze situation like this is covered and also multiple leaks are treated as one claim because its seen as being one event.
If damage does occupy call the professionals – Property Claims Loss Assessors Ltd. Qualified Building surveyors and Engineers, we will ensure you get your full entitlement. Visit www.pcla.ie for all our details.
Neal Herr BE MIEI CIP
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