Econintersect: LONDON, February 1, 2012/PRNewswire/ —
The Met Office has issued its first England-wide Level 3 Cold Weather Alert of the winter and insurer, Allianz Your Cover, is urging households to prepare for what the insurance industry calls ‘burst pipe season’.
With temperatures already reaching -6.1degree(s)C in Hampshire, Allianz Your Cover is concerned that that many more households could face the misery of damage caused by a frozen water pipe bursting in their home because they admit that the rising cost of fuel bills means they cannot afford to leave the heating on.
A poll of 3,000 people carried out for the home insurance provider Alliance Your Cover, revealed that 51% of Brits are now less likely to leave their heating on overnight or whilst they are out of the home, due to soaring energy prices, leaving them much more likely to suffer water damage from a frozen pipe bursting.
The survey also revealed that 1 in 4 homes have no protective lagging around their water pipes – which should be a significant cause of concern for the occupants.
If faced with a burst pipe, 49% of people said that they would not know how to deal with the situation, with 22% unaware of where the stop cock is in their home.
Andy James from Allianz Your Cover, comments: “In the current economic climate, it’s no surprise that energy bills are a major concern for households and it is understandable that people will be tempted to cut back on heating their homes.
“However, water escaping from frozen pipes can cause extensive and expensive damage and it can take a long while for a property to dry out before it can be repaired.”
Allianz Your Cover recommends the following preventative measures:
- Setting the central heating at the minimum temperature even when you are out of the property can make all the difference - the house doesn't have to be kept at the same temperature as normal to stop a pipe freezing and bursting. - Leave the loft hatch door open to allow warmer air to circulate. - Insulate exposed pipes in the attic and wrap tanks with good quality lagging.
If you do return home to a burst pipe:
- Immediately turn off the stopcock to prevent further flooding. - Turn on all the cold taps in your home and flush the toilet a few times to reduce flooding and pressure on the system. - Block escaping water using towels and use buckets to catch drips. - Call your insurer's 24 hour helpline or a local plumber as quickly as possible.
Source: Allianz Insurance plc
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The following picture shows one consequence that can arise from frozen and burst water pipes, although the AAA sign indicates it is probably in the U.S. and not the UK.