Cold snap surge in home emergency claims

AA encourages homeowners to prepare for cold weather

As December temperatures take a dive and look set to continue, the AA is urging homeowners to protect their homes from the freezing weather.

Recently, on Thursday 6 December, the AA's Home Emergency Response service experienced one of its busiest days this winter so far – three-quarters of its call-outs were from customers who had experienced problems with their central-heating boiler.

A few simple precautions

Tom Stringer, head of the AA's Home Emergency Response service, says: "Although we can't control the weather, there are a few simple things we can all do to help prevent emergencies around the home.

"The first thing we'd miss in this weather is our heating. By keeping the heating on a constant low temperature throughout the day you could reduce the chance of your boiler breaking down.

"And if you're going away it's a good idea to leave your loft hatch open to allow warm air to circulate. Pipes or an exposed water tank in your loft that are not insulated can freeze really quickly in sub-zero temperatures. It's definitely worth getting up there and checking that the insulation is adequate and in place – a tiny gap can still cause that section of pipe to freeze, particularly if it's in a draft. If you do get any frozen pipes, it's best to thaw them out gently using hot water bottles or a hairdryer.

"It's also a good idea to find the mains stopcock in case you have a burst pipe and need to stop the flow of water. It's usually under your kitchen sink or where the service pipe enters the building."

12 December 2012