Holiday Home Owners Are Warned To Be Prepared For The Thaw. Winter 2010-11 already shows signs of being an unusually cold one throughout the UK. The Met Office forecasters are suggesting that the cold spell which began in November could persist well into January. After a decade or more of relatively mild conditions the sub-zero temperatures of the past three winters have taken some holiday home owners by surprise. As a result escape of water claims have spiralled for many insurers.

Mark Lavington, Director of Holiday Home Insurance specialists, Boshers Ltd offers his tips to help mitigate potential water damage this winter. Mark says: “The cost and personal inconvenience caused by a burst pipe claim can be considerable with claims often running into many thousands of pounds. Just a small fracture can release hundreds of gallons of water into your holiday home; damaging carpets, walls, ceilings, personal items as well as potentially rendering your let property uninhabitable until essential repairs and redecoration is carried out.”

The chance of suffering these losses can be reduced and Boshers recommend furnished holiday let owners taking the following steps to do this:

General tips:

  • Check the location of your stopcock.
  • Check whether your boiler needs servicing.
  • Check the insulation on your water pipes and cold water tank, those in the attic or other vulnerable spaces should be lagged or similarly protected.
  • Modern methods of insulation can be so effective in keeping heat within your property that attics can become very cold, this could cause a pipe to freeze. We therefore recommend you keep your loft hatch open if you have pipes in the attic to keep this area warm. Consider consulting your friendly plumber to see if your water and heating systems can be redesigned to negate the need to have pipes and header tanks in the attic.
  • Keep doors between heated and unheated rooms open to allow warm air to circulate.
  • Keep cupboard doors open below sinks to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
  • Seal any holes or gaps that may be letting cold air into your property.
  • Make sure any valleys and gulley’s on your roof are kept clear and free from debris.
  • Make sure any external taps are turned off and disconnect any hoses.
  • If you discover a frozen pipe don’t wait for it to burst.

Turn off your water supply and then slowly thaw the affected pipe by introducing gentle heat to the area e.g. hair dryer, space heater, hot water bottle. DO NOT attempt to thaw the pipe with a blow torch or other open flame such as a cigarette lighter or matches.

What if the property will be unoccupied?

  • Keep your property heated to reduce the chance of a pipe freezing.
  • If unoccupied for an extended period drain and shut off your water system.
  • Ask somebody to check on your property daily. This may not prevent a loss but early identification of an escape can help reduce the ultimate cost.
  • Ensure you have complied with any unoccupancy conditions or warranties listed in your policy.

What if the worst happens?

  • Turn off the water supply at the stopcock. This should prevent any more water escaping into your property.
  • Where practical try and catch any excess water in a bucket or other container.
  • Do not use any electrics if you believe these may have been affected by the escaping water. You will need to have these checked by a professional electrician.

Additional guidance and holiday home insurance quotes are available from Boshers on 01237 429444 or for further information on UK holiday home insurance visit the website page most relevant to you:

 

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