Learn how to deal with burst pipes and min­imise dam­age

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Grace Ham­mond

AS tem­per­a­tures plum­met, burst pipes are an in­creas­ing prob­lem but there are steps you can take to safe­guard against water dam­age.

The best thing to do to avoid freez­ing pipes is to keep your heat­ing on, run cold taps reg­u­larly and drain your out­side tap if pos­si­ble.

You do this by switch­ing the in­side tap off and run­ning the out­side tap un­til drained.

In­side, make sure ex­posed pipes are prop­erly in­su­lated, par­tic­u­larly in the roof space or at­tic.

Matthew Hard­ing, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Au­tostop­cock, has the fol­low­ing ad­vice if the worst hap­pens in­side the house:

As soon as you are aware of a burst pipe within your home you should class this as an emer­gency and shut off the mains water within your prop­erty. This is done by turn­ing off the stop­cock. Make sure that ev­ery­one who lives or stays in the prop­erty knows where this is sit­u­ated and en­sure they know how to turn it off.

Af­ter the main stop­cock has been shut off and the mains water is pre­vented from flood­ing in, let the pipes drain by turn­ing on all of the cold taps within the prop­erty. You can also switch off your heat­ing sys­tem and then turn on all the hot taps, this will also aid drain­ing the water sup­ply sys­tem. For the same rea­son, flush all of the toi­lets. Once this has been car­ried out all leaks should stop.

Turn off the main elec­tri­cal sup­ply im­me­di­ately and of course do not touch any­thing elec­tri­cal if it’s wet.

Find the prob­lem area: You must then im­me­di­ately find the burst pipe within the prop­erty to pre­vent any fur­ther dam­age and do your best to fix it. For ex­am­ple, if it’s a tiny lit­tle nick within or on the pipe, seal­ing it will more than likely pre­vent any fur­ther prob­lems for a while. How­ever, you must also take into con­sid­er­a­tion which pipe has ac­tu­ally burst be­cause if the dam­age is in a main water pipe it will need to be tended to and re­paired very care­fully re­gard­less of the size of the break.

Check out the dam­age: If the leak does sub­side quickly look for dan­ger signs. If ceil­ings are bulging it means they are hold­ing a con­sid­er­able amount of water and may col­lapse at any minute. So move fur­ni­ture and be­long­ings to an­other area of the house. If you man­age to spot the leak fairly quickly then you can sim­ply place a bucket un­der­neath to catch the ex­cess water.

Call the pro­fes­sion­als: Call a plumber to fix and check the pipes. If you have flood­ing or water dam­age within your home then you may need to call a pro­fes­sional water dam­age restora­tion com­pany to re­move the water from your home and sub­se­quently have it dried out prop­erly. If you don’t then there could be prob­lems with mould.

Call your in­surance com­pany: When a pipe bursts within your prop­erty you need to call your in­surance com­pany as soon as pos­si­ble so you can sub­mit a claim. Your in­surance com­pany or rep­re­sen­ta­tive should then let you know of the steps you should take for your pol­icy. An as­ses­sor will usu­ally visit your house to as­cer­tain the dam­age and the cost to put it right. It is very im­por­tant you keep a record of the dam­age, how­ever big or small. Take some pho­tos or some video footage so that you have this data to show to your in­surance com­pany.

Preven­tion is bet­ter than cure: In­su­late your pipes where pos­si­ble and act im­me­di­ately when you sus­pect a leak. You can also use gad­gets like the Au­tostop­cock, which helps to pre­vent leaks and shuts off the water sup­ply in the event of ad­verse water flow and freez­ing.

Matthew adds: “Over £2bn of dam­age is caused each year due to es­cape of water and burst pipes or failed fit­tings can hap­pen at any time.”

York­shire Water also has an ad­vice sec­tion on its web­site, www.york­shire­wa­ter.com. For de­tails of reg­is­tered plumbers con­tact the Char­tered In­sti­tute of Plumb­ing and Heat­ing Engi­neers, www. ci­phe.org.uk,tel: 01708 472791.

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