Don’t let your unoccupied property insurance leave you out in the cold this winter – Empty properties liable to freeze

It’s going to get very cold this winter. If you own a holiday home, a second home or rental property which is not occupied full time, you must protect it against freezing or your burst pipe insurance claim could get a frosty response.

Thousands of empty properties are likely to be damaged by cold weather unless their owners prepare properly to ensure that their homes are protected.

Check your unoccupied property insurance policy

Check your insurance policy for terms and conditions relating to inspections, heating, maintenance and security of your property. If it isn’t up to scratch, ask us for a quotation

Open your loft hatch

We have put this advice at the top of the page because it is so often overlooked. If you have a water tank or any pipes in your roof space, you could suffer from a burst even when you have the heating on. If your loft is insulated, the temperature there will be significantly colder than in the living areas of your house, and even if you are home, you might be toasting your toes in front of your fire while your pipes in the top of the house are be frozen solid.

However, it is not the freezing that causes the damage. Come the thaw, the house will have up to 700 pints an hour effectively being poured through the ceiling. That’s over 16,000 pints or 9,600 litres of water per day.

Get the boiler serviced.

The last thing you need if you are going to leave the water connected and the heating on, is for the boiler to fail during the freeze. Get the boiler serviced so you can be confident it won’t let you down.

Keep the heating on 24/7

Heat your property 24 hours per day. Do not leave your heating system on timed, as it could freeze between heated periods. You have to make your own decisions and refer to your insurance policy for the minimum requirements of your insurer, but as a rule of thumb, you should be heating your home continually to at least 15 degrees C.

Check waste and drainage pipes

A slow drip from a waste or overflow pipe can be nothing but a minor annoyance during the warm weather. In freezing temperatures however, it can block your overflow and cause an internal water leak.

Drain down the water and isolate the supply

Of course, the sure way of protecting your property from water, is to have no water on the premises. However, there can be other drawbacks. As the property is allowed to go cold, furniture can suffer from damage caused by low temperatures. Also, the property can get damp without the heating keeping the moisture at bay.

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