Winter damage to my home

Eight out of ten households have suffered damage in the coldest season

The AA is encouraging householders to prepare their homes for winter.

The number of call-outs to its Home Membership service – for issues including plumbing, drainage, electrics and heating problems – increased by 27% for the week 13–19 October compared to two weeks before (29 September–5 October).

Call-outs to fix problems related to central heating systems alone increased by 39%.

Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership, said: "Wintry weather really can be a menace to our homes. Apart from the damage caused by high winds, leaves blocking drains, or snow and heavy rain which can lead to insurance claims, it makes life really uncomfortable if something inside your home goes wrong too – the heating or hot water fails, for instance.

"If you're aware of anything around your property that needs to be fixed then now is the time to do it before, say, a gale whips away some loose fence panels or guttering. Get your patio furniture or other freestanding equipment, such as a youngster's trampoline, safely put away in the shed too."

New research by AA Home Membership shows that 80% of households have suffered some kind of property damage during the winter, often caused by the weather.*

The most common issue was a broken fence, which affected 41% of properties. A boiler breakdown was the second most frequent problem, which 40% had to deal with, followed by a faulty radiator (26%).

In addition, almost a quarter (23%) had slipped roof tiles and nearly one in five (18%) had a blocked drain.

In most cases the cost of fixing the things that went wrong wasn't cheap. The most common issue, a damaged fence, cost £196.93 on average to repair. The second most frequent incident – a faulty boiler – cost an average of £443.27 to fix, while leaking pipes cost £248.71.

Here are a few tips to help prevent damage to your home during the winter.

  • Have your boiler serviced – the engineer should spot any problems with the system and ensure that your boiler is running efficiently
  • If you have a frozen pipe then thaw it out gently using hot water bottles or a hairdryer
  • If you go away for a few days, set your central heating thermostat at a minimum temperature to prevent internal pipes from freezing
  • Also while away, leave your loft hatch open slightly to let warmer air circulate around any pipes in your loft
  • Turn off your stopcock off if you go away – if you do have a leaky pipe your home won't get drenched

More winter weather tips for your home.


Damage to households during winter and repair costs*

Winter damage

Properties affected %

Average repair cost

Fence blew down

41

£196.93

Boiler not working properly

40

£443.27

Radiator not working properly

26

£85.36

Slipped roof tiles or slates

23

£286.13

Blocked drain

18

£153.23

Leaking or burst pipe

14

£248.71

Damaged garden furniture

7

£103.13

Faulty electrics

6

£57.84

Other

3

£380.65

Any of the above

80


* Research carried out by Populus among 1,207 adults aged 18+,
17–29 September 2014.

28 October 2014