Keeping your home safe during a cold snap

Aviva Home Insurance

Snow and frost may be a joy for children (and many adults!) but we need to be wary of the damage it can cause to our homes. To prevent as much damage as possible and keep snow as something magical, read on below.

Dealing with interior problems

  • Turn the warm water on in your taps to keep it flowing through your pipes regularly, as it is less likely to freeze over in the pipes this way.
  • If a pipe freezes, you must act quickly to try keep it from bursting. Turn off the water, run the taps to drain the water still in the system, and locate the blockage. If you can’t find the blockage, call a plumber.  Then thaw the frozen pipe with a hairdryer or hot water bottle.
  • If any of your pipes do burst, turn off the water immediately, drain the system, switch off all electrics and call a plumber. For further details of what to do in this instance, click here.
  • If water leaks from your ceiling, turn off your water. Using a screwdriver, carefully pierce any bulges, allowing water to escape into buckets placed underneath. Leave doors and windows open to speed up the drying process and help prevent mould.
  • Remember to take photos of the damage, if you plan on making a claim. 

Dealing with exterior problems

  • If snowfall is expected, clear out your gutters of all debris and leaves. Water collects easily in these and will freeze and block up your gutters.
  • Check your roof for broken or damaged tiles and have them fixed if there are any. Snow will get into these cracks and cause leaks and further damage otherwise.
  • Use salt or sand on paths outside and leading to your house for extra grip. Do not use water to clean this area as it can freeze and become very dangerous.
  • Bring any smaller plant pots inside or into your garage to prevent the ice and snow from killing them.
  • Keep your pets warm and dry. Ensure their water bowls don’t freeze over if left outside. Leave food out for birds and break the ice on any ponds in your garden.
  • Clear your garden of all toys and tools so they do not become obstacles when snow falls. 
  • snow shovel is a good purchase if you have plenty of garden or walkway surrounding your home.
  • Keep your attic ventilated as best as possible. If your attic is as hot as the rest of your home, snow that lands on your roof will melt and re-freeze in your gutters, causing them to burst.
  • If you don’t already have them, invest in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors for your home. During winter we all enjoy lighting fires and must be prepared for the risks they can pose.

Remember that:

  • If you are leaving your home unattended for a period of more than a day or two, you should shut off the water supply to the property from the external stopcock (while ensuring that any water-dependent appliances or facilities are also shut-off).
  • And to open your attic trap door to allow heat from the house to circulate through the attic.

There are a lot of things to think about in terms of your property and contents when it comes to extreme weather damage.

Don’t forget, we offer help in a home emergency. To read more about this, click here, or if your enquiry is an emergency, please give us a call on our Homecall Helpline, Call Save 1800 565 556 24/7.  

For insight on what you can do in the case of a storm, click here. If your home experiences flooding, click here.

Learn more about Aviva home insurance.

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