Getting Your House Cold Weather Ready

February 26, 2018
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The so-called Beast from The East is almost upon us. The Government’s National Emergency Coordination Group for Severe Weather is meeting today as the country gears up for an exceptionally cold weather this week.

There is a warning of blizzard like conditions later in the week with some snowfall predictions estimating up to 25cm for Waterford. Temperatures could reach as low as -7 degrees Celsius in parts of the county with significant wind chill making it feel even colder.

Here are some of our top tips for getting your home ready for the cold weather:

  • Ensure you have enough food, water, medication and fuel in your home to last you up to four days.
  • Keep your devices charged and have torches and spare batteries at hand in case there is a power outage
  • Bring pets indoors
  • If possible, have an alternative to your mains heating such as a gas stove or electric fan heater.
  • Look out for your elderly neighbours
  • Use suitable footwear if you have to go outside
  • Don’t make unnecessary journeys
  • Keep your home warm, even if your not there

One of the main causes of freezing pipes is lack of insulating around pipes and tanks in your attic, or anywhere else liable to freeze in extremely cold weather.

  • Insulate on top of pipes. Insulation should be laid on top of pipes rather than underneath them, as insulation laid below the pipes will prevent rising heat reaching them.
  • Wrap up water tanks and cisterns in insulating jackets.
  • If you cannot insulate before the cold weather arrives, you may consider leaving your attic trapdoor open slightly to allow some heat into the attic.

If you are going away overnight leave your heating on at a constant low level. This will keep water in pipes at a constant temperature and means they should not get cold enough to freeze. It is also worth getting friends or family to check on your home while you are away. A problem spotted early could mean damage is minimised.

Be prepared for the worst:

  • Find the stop cock – Before cold weather arrives, find your main stop cock and make sure you can turn it on or off. It’s generally found on the footpath outside your house.
  • Check the taps – Repair any dripping taps and don’t forget to insulate outside taps in your garden or garage (or turn off the water supply to them altogether).
  • Ensure you have contact details for a plumber in case of an emergency

Insurance Cover

Damage caused by freezing water and leaking or “escaping” water from tanks, pipes, or heating systems is covered as standard under most contents and buildings insurance policies. Damage to the pipe itself is also usually covered under buildings insurance.

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