Extreme weather and our service to you
Please note: your Progress Plus cover does not include the cost of repairing faults or damage to your heating caused by freezing weather conditions. Please be aware that if we are called out to such a fault, you may be charged a call out fee of £45+ vat. Progress Plus does not provide cover for thawing out frozen pipes.
If pipes and tanks are frozen
This is a situation where we are unable to assist by sending out a tradesperson, unfortunately there is nothing we can do to assist with pipes that are frozen. However, the following advice can help limit damage: Turn off the water at the main stop cock. If there is a stop valve fitted on the outlet pipe from the header tank, this should be turned off too. Do this even if you only suspect your pipes are frozen, since they could also have burst, and, by turning off the water, you will reduce the amount of water which can escape, and so minimise damage to your home. Before you start to thaw the system, do what you can to protect or remove anything which might be damaged by thawing water running from the burst. Cover any electrical junction boxes and wiring to keep water off. Thaw the pipe using a hairdryer or hot water bottle - DO NOT use a blow lamp or heat gun and DO NOT pour warm or hot water around or under boilers as this can lead to more damage from water on the boiler itself or to adjacent time clocks, isolation switches, etc. Open the tap closest to the frozen part of the pipe. Begin thawing the pipe from the tap side of the frozen area, by warming it gently, and work back towards the header tank.
If a pipe has burst
The first thing you must remember to do is to turn off the water at the main stop valve.
- Begin thawing the pipe from the tap side of the frozen area, by warming it gently, and work back towards the header tank.
- Switch off the central heating and any other water heating installations at the same time, to avoid further damage, or even an explosion.
- Open all your taps to drain the system.
- If water is coming through the ceiling, collect it in buckets. If the ceiling starts to bulge, pierce the plaster with a broom handle to let the water through.
- If your wiring, or any electrical appliances have been affected, do not touch them until they have been checked by a professional electrician. If in doubt, turn off your electricity at the mains.
- Contact your insurance company's helpline to get advice on making a claim.
- If you have Progress Plus Plumbing and Drainage or Complete Cover, contact us on 0845 389 9519 to arrange for the pipe to be repaired.
Help prevent frozen pipes
- Find your mains water stop valve and make sure you can turn it off and on. It will usually be somewhere on the ground floor of your home.
- Repair any dripping taps
- Look in the loft space to see whether it contains any water pipes and tanks (most houses do).
- Examine the condition of the insulation on pipes and tanks in the loft. - Is it intact? How thick is it? If it is damaged, or too thin, you should improve or replace it.
- All pipes and tanks in the loft space, or anywhere else which may be liable to freezing, need to be lagged.
- The thicker the lagging the better, especially if you live in a particularly cold part of the country, or have a well-insulated loft floor. (This can stop warm air rising from the rest of the house to heat pipes and tanks in the loft).
- If you intend to leave your house unoccupied for more than a few hours during the cold weather, the pipe lagging should be at least 50mm in diameter - preferably 75mm. This is thicker than the insulation material stocked in many DIY stores, but is usually available from plumbers' merchants.
- Use preformed pipe insulation on all pipe runs.
- Wrap bends or hard-to-get-at pipes with securely fixed strips of insulation material.
If you are leaving your home for a period of time
- Leave your heating on while you are away from home. In severe weather, or if severe weather is forecast, you should leave your heating on day and night at your usual temperature setting, especially if you are going to be away from home for any length of time. This will help to stop your pipes freezing.
- Open your loft trap door. This allows warm air from other parts of the house to circulate in the loft, and will help prevent pipes freezing. This is especially important if you know your pipe lagging is below standard.
Ask a friend or relative to visit your home every day while you are away. This will mean that, if you do suffer a burst pipe, it will be detected as soon as possible, and the damage caused will be minimised.
Boiler stopped working?
Frozen boiler condensate pipes can be a frequent occurrence for UK homeowners during the icy winter months.Click here for some easy guidelines to try to remedy the problem yourself.