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How to fix a burst pipe

As colder weather hits the UK, it's time to check your heating system. Here's how to stop pipes freezing and how to fix a burst pipe.

Post updated: November 25th, 2021

3 minute read

How to stop a pipe freezing and fix a burst pipe

Knowing how to stop pipes freezing and how to fix a burst pipe should both be something all homeowners know. But it’s usually something that we don’t think about until it’s too late. Burst pipes – or “escape of water” – is the most common claim made to insurance companies. And those claims can increase this time of year as the temperature starts to drop and pipes start to freeze.

A frozen or burst pipe can cause a significant amount of damage to your property and is not cheap to repair. According to our partners at APlan Insurance, the insurance industry pays out £2.5m every day to customers as a result of burst pipes.

Worryingly, however, not everyone has the option of getting an insurance payout to pick up the pieces after a burst pipe.

The comparison site Finder reported that five million homes in the UK don’t have any form of home insurance, while less than a fifth (19%) of home contents insurance policies and only a quarter (25%) of home buildings policies include cover for home emergencies as standard.

Burst pipe insurance claim

If you already have home contents insurance, give your provider a call and make sure you understand what your policy covers.

Most buildings insurance policies cover  water damage as standard. This covers the repairing of the leak and any damage it has caused but is unlikely to cover finding the leak. Check your policy as to whether “trace and access” is included. Contents insurance should also cover the cost of replacing items ruined by water damage and the cost of repairs e.g. redecorating.

And if you don’t already have cover, or are up for renewal, get protected. Our insurance broker partners at APlan insurance have over 50 years experience of finding the best value home insurance cover that covers your needs. If you haven’t got cover, you might want to speak to them today on 08000 325935 or read more about how they can help here 

How to stop pipes freezing

Having insurance is great, but do you really want the hassle and upset of dealing with the damage, repairs and claims?

There are steps you can take to stop pipes freezing and minimise the damage if a pipe does burst.

  1. Keep your heating on at regular intervals.
  2. Insulate water tanks and water pipes in the loft (you can buy lagging material from most DIY stores).
  3. If you have any dripping taps, fix them!
  4. Find your property’s stopcock or valve and make sure you can turn it off if necessary. It’s likely to be under the kitchen sink. If you cannot locate it, ask a neighbour or seek advice from an approved plumber.
  5. Make sure your boiler has been serviced.
  6. Try to minimise draughts from outside and close doors and windows, particularly in unheated parts of the property.
  7. If you have pipes in the roof area, open the loft hatch to allow warm air to circulate.
  8. When going away, make sure to set a timer. If you are away for a long time, turn off the water at the stopcock.


Need your boiler serviced or pipes insulated? Find a local tradesperson now with Checkatrade

How to fix a burst pipe

If the worst happens and the pipe starts to leak here is how to fix a burst pipe…

  1. Immediately turn the water mains off via the stopcock. Wait for the pipes to warm up, or you can try and thaw them with a hot water bottle.
  2. Do not attempt to dislodge the ice using a hammer or melt it with a blow touch, it is highly likely that this will cause more damage.
  3. Move any possessions, such as furniture or clothing, which are near frozen pipes in case the pipe bursts.

If your pipe bursts then:

  • Turn off the water at the stopcock. Switch off central heating and any other water heating installations. Open all taps to drain the system.
  • Move any possessions, such as furniture or clothing, to prevent further damage to property.

In both instances, contact your insurer straight away to seek advice, many insurers operate 24-hour helplines. They will advise on next steps and help to arrange professional repairs to be carried out.

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