November 08, 2009 19:00 ET

Winter Freeze Puts Pressure on Homes

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2009) - During the winter months there is always steep increase in home insurance claims, many of which are related to issues with frozen water pipes, says Swinton, the UK's leading high street retailer of home insurance.

As temperatures across the UK start to drop, at the freezing temperatures of winter approach, Swinton is warning homeowners of the dangers of frozen pipes.

Frozen pipes can cause misery and thousands of pounds worth of damage, but with a few simple steps they can easily be avoided. Make sure that all pipes and tanks in the loft space, or anywhere else which may be liable to freezing, should to be lagged with good quality lagging.

If going on holiday always leave plugs in sinks to avoid dripping water freezing in pipes and don't switch the heating off, just turn it down to a lower heat or set a timer to avoid pipes freezing. It's also sensible to leave loft doors ajar to allow warm air to circulate.

If the cold weather does free the pipes: - Turn off the stop tap as soon as possible to prevent further flooding

- Contact a plumber before drawing off any water to avoid damaging your hot water cylinder to quickly drain the water system, turn on all cold taps

- Make sure that no electrical appliances are used where they could be wet - turn off electricity supply if in doubt

- If pipes are still frozen, check that there are no splits or forced joints in the pipe. If there are none use a hot water bottle to apply gentle heat to the pipe, starting from an open tap

Steve Chelton, Insurer development Manager for Swinton, the UK's leading high street insurance retailer, said: "We would recommend that as winter approaches homeowners take a few simple precautions to protect their home from the dangers of cold weather."

About Swinton

- With 580 branches nationwide Swinton is the UK's largest high street insurance retailer

- Unlike many other companies in the financial services industry, Swinton is committed to keeping its branches open for business, and part of the community

- Swinton provides a one-stop-shop for the insurance and related needs of its clients, offering home, car, caravan, business, holiday, motorbike and even classic car insurance

- With a dedicated team of advisors on hand at every branch to search a panel of insurers to offer quality cover at competitive rates

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