If a pipe has frozen but not burst yet
If you've realised that a pipe has frozen (perhaps because a tap is no longer working) but NOT burst, it's essential that you act quickly.
6 easy steps to manage a frozen pipe
- Identify the blockage by feeling the pipe. The root of the problem will be obvious when you reach a section that is colder than the rest.
- Turn off the stopcock to stop the flow of water.
- Open the tap closest to the frozen pipe in order to allow the excess water to escape when it melts away.
- Do some damage control by moving furniture and belongings out of the way. Roll back the carpets, lift the curtains and cover electronic devices in case the pipe bursts.
- Let your frozen pipe defrost slowly. Do not use a naked flame, hairdryer or the central heating. If this does not work, then you should contact an emergency plumber or your insurer if you have home emergency cover.
- Assess the pipe for damage before turning the water back on.
If a frozen pipe has burst
If the worst has happened and a pipe has burst, you now you need to manage the mess. The first thing to do is turn off the stopcock to stop the flow of water. Then, contact your home insurance provider.
Depending on the type of cover that you have (and how bad the water damage is) your insurer may cover the costs of sending out a plumber, replacing your possessions on a ‘new-for-old’ and even providing alternative accommodation.
Water can leave plenty of issues behind, least of all being the need to soak up all excess leaks and dry out your rooms and belongings.
Unfortunately there’s no quick fix for this, and you will have to dry out the property by leaving doors and windows open for air flow, turning the heating on or investing in a dehumidifier.
Keeping your damaged possessions is worthwhile too, as your insurance provider may ask to see the damaged items (or photos of the items) to be able to process your claim accurately.