Burst pipes

Burst pipe

A sudden drop in temperature can cause pipes in your home to freeze. And when water freezes, it expands and this increases the likelihood of burst.

Warmth offers the best protection against frozen pipes, so here are some practical tips to keep them at bay:

  • Open your attic trap door to allow heat from your home to circulate freely.
  • Leave your heating on (at a lower temperature) for longer periods of time, even at night.
  • If you are leaving your home for longer than a day or two, make sure to shut off your water supply from the external stopcock, and also ensure that any water-dependent appliances or facilities are also shut off.

We know, that a burst pipe can cause serious structural and electrical damage to our homes. So make sure you know how to identify a burst pipe in your home and know what to do in this event.

If you notice that one or more of your taps aren’t working, or that your water pressure is significantly lower than usual, you could have a burst pipe. First, check whether your neighbours are experiencing the same thing. If they are, there could be a problem with the local water supply, but if not, you more than likely have a burst pipe and should follow the steps, outlined below:

Remember, that where immediate or emergency action is required, you should call a professional. You and your family’s safety is of the utmost importance.


The first step is to turn off the main water supply with the main stop-tap. The tap is usually located under your kitchen sink. You’ll then need to switch off the stopcock in your cold water tank. This is usually located in the attic. Make sure to find out where yours are located before winter fully sets in.


The second step is to drain the system. Turn on all your cold taps and flush all toilets.


The third step is to switch off the central heating, the immersion and any other heating installations within your home. If your heating uses solid fuel, let it die out. Once the heating is fully shut down, turn on all hot taps to fully drain the system.


If water from a burst pipe is leaking near any electrical appliances, step four is to switch off your electricity at the mains switch. If the mains switch is wet, please don’t touch it. Instead, call a qualified electrician.


If your ceiling starts to bulge, step five is to stand out of the way, pierce the plaster with a long-handled screwdriver or broom handle and collect the water in a bucket. This will control the water flow and will prevent the ceiling from bursting and flooding the entire room.

And the final step to keeping you and your home safe this winter is making sure it’s insured with quality home insurance. To find out more about Aviva home insurance and its benefits, click here.

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