Home safety - winter precautions
Advice on avoiding damage to your property during the winter period.
The most likely cause is if household pipes freeze up and burst causing water damage. There are simple measures you can take to reduce risks, and which may prevent the needing emergency accommodation.
- Check you know how to use the heating system properly, and also where your stop valves are. Council tenants can contact the Repairs Centre for advice.
- Keep the heat in - fit draught proofing, insulate your home and lag your pipes.
- Keep your heating on overnight at a low temperature so pipes won't freeze - simply turn your thermostat down to 15 degrees Celsius.
- Swift repairs to dripping taps and ball valves can help to prevent freezing pipes, as can salt placed in the waste traps of sinks, baths, basins and WCs. Always ensure taps are fully off to avoid waste pipes freezing.
- If you leave your house unoccupied for more than a few days in winter, ask the Repairs Centre to turn off the water. Leave keys with a trusted person and, if you leave your heating on while you are away, ensure pre-payment meters have enough credit.
If pipes freeze
- If pipes become frozen, and are part of the hot water system, turn off or extinguish the source of heat (immersion heater, gas boiler, coal fire back boiler).
- Turn off the supply at the stop valve.
- Before attempting to thaw the pipe, remove or protect anything that may be damaged by a burst.
- Gently heat the frozen section of pipe using a fan heater, hairdryer, hot water bottle or heated cloths wrapped round the pipe.
If pipes burst
- Turn off the water at the main stop valve in the house, turn on the taps, switch off the boiler, and switch off the immersion or water heating systems (extinguish your coal fire if you use a back boiler).
- Turn off the electrical supply.
- Council tenants should contact the Repairs Centre on 01738 476000 (Option 1 during working hours and Option 4 Out of Hours).
- Warn neighbours if they are likely to be affected.
- If water is coming through the ceiling, collect it in buckets and move items likely to be damaged.
If you fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent burst pipes, you may be held responsible for the damage caused to the property, or your neighbours' property and contents.
Perth & Kinross Council's insurance provides cover for the structure and fittings owned by us, this does not cover your contents, including carpets and interior decoration. We strongly advise that you take out home contents insurance to cover your furniture and personal belongings in case of damage.
The Housing Repairs and Improvements Service can be reached on 01738 476000.