‘Beast from the east’ could cost homeowners thousands

Flood warning: The snowy weather could have costly consequences

Flood warning: The snowy weather could have costly consequences - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Homeowners could be left paying the price for this week’s cold snap, with burst pipes potentially leading to hefty insurance claims.

Insurer NFU Mutual warns that sub-zero temperatures place properties at risk of burst pipes and subsequent water leaks; the average cost of these types of claims is £5,000.

Jon Cawley, Head of Claims at NFU Mutual, said: “A sustained spell of freezing temperatures will affect many buildings that have so far made it through the winter unscathed and it could catch people unawares.

“Few things are more depressing than waking up to the smell of wet plaster, dripping water and the realisation that a pipe has burst in your loft.

“The costs of drying out the house and replacing damaged fixtures and fittings can be met by home and contents insurance. But that doesn’t compensate for the loss of treasured possessions, or the heartache of drying out a water soaked home in the middle of winter and seeing furniture and photographs consigned to the skip.”

NFU Mutual is urging homeowners to make sure their water pipes and tanks are protected, particularly as some plumbing may have been critically weakened by previous cold snaps.

These are their top tips:

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1. Locate your stopcock

This will normally be below your kitchen sink, or wherever the water supply enters your property. Make sure you can access it and close it easily.

2. Lag above pipes in your loft

Well insulated loft spaces will get very cold in winter, so it’s important you give your water pipes extra lagging to help prevent them freezing and bursting.

3. Keep the central heating on

Keeping the thermostat at a normal setting overnight or while your home is unoccupied will help to keep the building temperature above freezing.

4. Check your plumbing

Checking your pipes for signs of freezing or bursts, such as leaking or dripping joints, will help you to react to a possible problem or nip it in the bud. Asking tenants to do the same will help to protect rental properties too.