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Protect your property from the ‘Beast from the East’

Written by: Christina Hoghton
Much of Britain is battling bitter weather this week, with a cold snap named the ‘Beast from the East’ sweeping in from Siberia. Here are six ways to look after your home.

Heavy snow showers are expected in parts of the country, with the wind chill due to make temperatures feel as low as -10°C.

It’s one of the worst cold snaps since the “Big Freeze” of 2010, when temperatures plunged to as low as -20°C in parts, and Halifax Home Insurance received 2,500 claims for frozen pipes.

This is in comparison to just 42 frozen pipes claims received across 2017, a year that was spared such freezing conditions.

David Rochester, head of underwriting for Halifax Home Insurance, said: “The cold weather highlights just how important it is to maintain your home against the elements.

“Properties are more susceptible to frozen pipes when the temperatures suddenly drop. Keeping your heating on for a few extra hours overnight is an easy way to prevent this. If it saves thousands of pounds in the event of a pipe freeze, that’s a price worth paying.”

Jessica Turner, senior manager, weather modelling, at the business, added: “Taking active steps to protect properties, particularly during better weather, means that when cold weather arrives, homeowners can rest assured that their homes will be able to deal with the extreme elements.”

How to handle the big freeze

Halifax Home Insurance has published the following tips to handle the freeze with ease:

1. Set your thermostat to a minimum temperature around 12°C, even overnight – the heating costs are justified if it avoids a costly pipe freeze. Many thermostats have a winter option that routinely heats the system to keep pipes at the right temperature.

2. Disconnect and drain all hosepipes, sprinkler systems and water features that are connected to external water outlets.

3. Insulate exposed pipes in basements, attics, garages, kitchen cabinets and on the outside of the house. Use UL-listed heat tape, or foam rubber insulation where pipes are exposed to cold moving air.

4. If you’re going on holiday it might be worth shutting off and draining your water system (ask your provider for information on how to do this) or asking a trusted neighbor or friend to pop in regularly while you’re away.

5. Make sure you know where your stopcock is so that you can turn it off quickly in an emergency and can prevent a potential flood. The stopcock is the valve that controls the cold water system in your home. Stopcocks are usually found in the kitchen, below the sink unit. However in some houses the stopcock is found in a front or back hall or in a larder unit beside the sink unit.

6. Be sure to have your home insurance details to hand in case the worst happens.

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