While most people will be dreaming of a white Christmas, some unfortunate souls will end up facing the nightmare reality of a wet Christmas. Whether caused by a leaking tap or frozen pipework, water damage can cause huge disruption to property owners when it hits. And this disruption is amplified at this time of year when our homes keep us warm, dry and sheltered from the worst of the cold weather.
To help prevent leaks and protect your property against the threat of water damage this winter, Polygon has compiled a number of practical tips you can follow.
It might not be possible to check every inch of your property’s pipework, but it is advisable to examine as much as you can, paying particular attention to plastic pipework that can degrade more readily than metal. And it’s not just water contained within pipes that’s the cause of problems. Roofs and guttering play a vital role in channelling rainwater away from properties and into drains. Any blockages or weaknesses, however minor, will divert water into areas where it can cause damage through accumulation and erosion, or react with materials such as iron to create rust. Inside a property, tell-tale signs of problems with roofing and drainage include damp patches or ceiling stains that are brown or yellowish in colour. Outside, look up to see if roof tiles or shingles are either missing or deformed, and check the condition of flashing for evidence that caulking materials might have perished. Look down too, making sure that water is being correctly directed away from the property and not gathering around its foundations.
When water freezes inside a pipe, it expands, creating pressure and, potentially, causing it to burst. Insulation is a simple yet effective defence that keeps below-zero temperatures at bay. Any pipework, taps and hoses on the outside of the house are obviously more prone than others, so make sure they are properly insulated wherever possible. Even better, if you know they are going to lie dormant for the winter, then drain them down and shut off their water supply altogether. Where pipework runs into your property or between walls, any gaps should also be sealed to prevent cold air from entering. Less insulated areas of the house, such as garages and loft spaces will also be more at risk from the cold, so pipework here, as well as header and water tanks, should be protected with lagging.
Heating a property in the most efficient way is about maximising the warmth generated from a heat source, such as a radiator or fire. As such, it’s important that air can circulate freely through the house and the flow is not blocked by closed interior doors. Remember also that heat will rise, and by opening loft hatches you can ensure that roof spaces where tanks and pipework are exposed to colder temperatures can feel some benefit. If you’re not planning to be in the property for an extended period of time, then it is sensible to let your insurer know and also to maintain a constant low ambient temperature. This will not only provide a baseline of warmth, but it will also ensure your central heating system maintains a healthy low level of regular operation.
If you do experience a leak, it’s important to act quickly. Make sure you know where the stopcock is situated and check it regularly with a couple of turns to make sure it’s not seized when an emergency strikes. At this point, it’s possible you may need expert help to resolve your leak as the source is not always obvious. At Polygon, we have access to a variety of low-impact leak-detection techniques, including infrared cameras, tracer gas, smoke and air pressure, which our fully qualified engineers use to isolate the problem with minimum physical disruption to the property itself. Having tackled the leak, we are also equipped to deal with the effects, drying your property and restoring it to its former condition.
In summary, the harsh realities of cold weather mean that not everyone will escape the possibility of being affected by a leak or water damage this Christmas season. However, following tips such as the ones outlined here will help ensure your property is well prepared to cope with winter’s worst efforts.
And, of course, if the worst does happen and you’re facing a water-damage emergency, then Polygon is always by your side. Your can contact our team of fully trained helpers 24/7, with full details available here: EMERGENCY
Direct Reaction Team
We are ready to respond on short notice to ensure that real estate and other property restored to its origins in the fastest possible way. We do a quick assessment of the damage to be able to take the right actions.
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