Ice and snow
Help and advice for your home
During the freeze
Action to take if a pipe bursts
Step 1 - Turn off the stopcock that turns your mains water supply off and on. In many homes, it is in the kitchen below the sink unit or in the front or back hall, where the service pipe comes into your home. It looks a bit like a tap and may be red in colour.
Step 2 - Turn off your electricity, central heating and immersion heater.
Warning: If the damage is serious, turn off the electrical supply completely and leave the house until a qualified electrician tells you that it’s safe to go back. Never touch the electricity supply if you’re standing in water.
Step 3 - Run all the cold and hot water taps to drain the water system.
Step 4 - Use buckets to catch dripping water.
Important: If the ceiling bulges significantly, don’t touch it and stay out of the room.
After the freeze
If your home has been damaged, you probably want to start clearing up. But if you are registering a claim, please make a note of the following – to help support your claim.
- Keep items you want to claim for, even if they are damaged beyond repair.
- For larger items like carpets or rugs, you could keep a sample.
- Take photographs of the items and your home.
You could leave windows and doors open to help dry your property, but please make sure that it’s safe to do so.
Before the freeze
Keep up to date
You can check the weather forecast wherever you are. The Met Office has a weather feed you could subscribe to.
Cover the basics
Pipes that freeze and burst can cause a great deal of damage to your home. Here are some helpful hints to avoid common pipe problems:
- Insulate your pipes, your water tank, your loft and any exposed garden pipes.
- Set your thermostat to at least 10°C and keep your heating on - even if you go away.
- Use thick curtains in living areas and draft excluders under doors to help keep your home warm.
- Leave the loft cover slightly ajar and the kitchen and bathroom cupboards open to help warm air circulate around your pipes.
Get one step ahead
It can be difficult to find a plumber, heating engineer or electrician during cold spells. Avoid the rush by getting your central heating and boiler serviced sooner rather than later.
Prepare the essentials
Prepare a list of local plumbers, heating engineers and electricians, plus your utility companies and car breakdown services.
Put our claims line number in your mobile to save time.
Put some basics on standby: candles and matches, a torch (and spare batteries), tinned food, warm clothing, blankets, buckets, salt and/or grit and a shovel.