-Burst pipes cause £680 million worth of damage to UK Homes-
Millions of homeowners are taking unnecessary risks with their properties while away over the Christmas holidays, says new research from Ageas Insurance. As fuel costs rise, many are failing to keep their homes adequately warm enough to avoid damage caused by frozen pipes.
According to the new research, which is part of an annual barometer on how we cope with harsher winters, almost a third (29 per cent) of homeowners are worried about the cost of leaving the heating on to help avoid frozen and burst pipes while away from home.
Over half (51 per cent) don’t realise that it is more cost effective to leave their home central heating on low, rather than turning it off during cold periods – meaning that they could risk leaving their homes in danger of the freezing winter temperatures.
Pipes can burst if they freeze then thaw rapidly, which can often cause an escape of water from pipes, many of which are in the attic. If severe, the leaks can bring down ceilings, causing massive damage and often completely destroying a home’s contents.
Last winter, burst pipes caused damage worth £680m across the UK and so Ageas Insurance is urging homeowners to not underestimate the cost of repairing a burst pipe and paying for the disruption or loss of irreplaceable possessions – and to leave their heating on low when they go away this winter.
Mark Cliff, Managing Director of Ageas Insurance said: ‘We regularly see the physical damage that a burst pipe can cause. It is something that is very often underestimated: losing irreplaceable items like photos and family heirlooms can be devastating. Taking very simple steps to protect the home from freezing weather, such as leaving the heating on low when away from home during cold snaps, homeowners can help avoid the heartache that a burst pipe can cause’.
Top Tips from Ageas Insurance on preventing burst pipes this winter:
- Before you leave for your break, make sure that all outdoor taps are switched off and lagged and any leaking taps are fixed
- Ensure that you open the doorway or hatch to your attic, so that the warmer air from the house can circulate
- If your pipes do freeze – thaw them gently with warm water
- Keep your heating on low to ensure that the air in your house remains warm – insulating your loft and your walls can help to prevent pipes from freezing
- Take out insurance so that you have immediate response, assistance and cover in any emergency
The research also found that winter can make us put off what me might regret, with external repairs being delayed until the New Year by one in seven (15 per cent) Brits; most acute among 45 – 54 year olds, where nearly a quarter (23 per cent) will delay external repairs until the coming year.
But the research also reveals that the harsh winters do bring out a sense of community spirit in people, as one in three regularly calls in on a friend or neighbour during the cold weather to check they are OK.