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Heating, hot water and winter


Now we are heading into winter, we want to remind you of some essential precautions that can be taken to protect properties from the results of freezing weather. We are keen to prevent damage costs property owners, executor, attorneys and trustees and would be grateful if you could please take the time to read the guidance as it may be beneficial to you.

In particular over the Christmas and New Year holiday period, many of us will wish to go away and visit relatives and friends. We would ask you to observe some simple precautions if you intend to be away from the property for longer than 24 hours during the winter period.


If you are going away during the winter months please ensure that the heating is set on low and on a timer in order to prevent any frozen pipes. It is recommended that you have the heating coming on daily between 11am and 1pm and 11 pm and 1am at a temperature of 16/17 degrees Celsius. If you are away for a considerable time, we would advise that you ask a friend or neighbour to pop in to ensure all is well.

If you are an attorney, executor or trustee please make sure that your heating is switched on in line with this advice or alternatively switched off, if you have drained the system.


If a pipe bursts and water comes through the ceiling, there can be serious damage to your properties and contents. Burst pipes and leaks can be complicated to fix, repair work may involve considerable disruption.

You can avoid this kind of damage by preventing burst pipes and leaks in the first place. As frozen pipes often burst, winter care is crucial. Please follow this care advice:

· If you are away for a while, arrange for someone to check on the property to make sure pipes haven’t burst or frozen.

· Make sure you know where the stop tap is and check regularly that it can be turned off easily in an emergency.

· In cold weather the heating will need to be kept on low, or set to come on a couple of times a day, especially if you’re going away. It is recommended that you have the heating coming on between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. The most economical way to keep your home heated during these times is to keep the heating on low over 24 hours which stops the extra cost of re-heating a cold home. It is recommended that you maintain a minimum temperature of 16/17 degrees Celsius.

· Ask for dripping taps to be repaired because if they freeze they’ll block the pipe. This can also save up to a litre of water a day and your money if it is a hot tap.

· Open the loft trap door if the weather is exceptionally freezing to let heat in.

If you are an attorney, executor or trustee please consider whether the better option would be to drain the water and heating system so there is no risk of leak.

What to do if you get a burst pipe

If you have a burst pipe, the first step to take is to turn your water supply off. This should be done by turning off the main stop tap which is normally situated under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe enters the property.

The system will then need to be drained to prevent any further water damage to the property. You can do this by turning on all the cold water taps.

Switch off the central heating, immersion heater and any other water heating systems. Once shut down, turn on the hot taps to help drain the system.

If you think that water has leaked near to electrical wiring or appliances, switch off the mains immediately, do not touch any wet electrics.

Frozen Pipe Emergency

A frozen pipe should also be treated as a serious matter as it is likely to burst and cause a leak. The following information is advice on what to do should you discover a frozen pipe.

· Turn the water off immediately, using the main stop tap (under the kitchen sink or where the service pipe enters the building). If there is a stop tap in your cold water tank, turn this off also (usually found in the attic).

· Protect everything around the pipe that appears to be frozen, to avoid damage if it bursts.

· Open the tap nearest to the part of the pipe you think is frozen so that the water can flow through when it has melted. Thaw the ice in the pipe with a hot water bottle or hairdryer (taking care to keep it well away from water), starting at the tap end and working back towards the cold water tank. Never use a heat gun or blow torch.

If you do get in a pickle or need reliable tradesmen to help prevent problems please let us know!

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