Top tips for tackling and preventing home emergencies

 
Home emergencies can cause significant damage and potentially cost a lot of money to put right. While they are sometimes unavoidable, here are our top 10 tips to reduce the chance of a home emergency taking place and limit the damage if something does occur.

1. Clean your gutters

Gutters and downpipes should be cleaned annually in order to keep them free of debris. Not cleaning your gutters could result in water entering your home, potentially damaging it's structure. Find out more about other common causes of roof damage here.

2. Keep your drains unblocked

Blocked drains can cause serious leaks, overflows or electrical damage. Do not pour cooking oil, fat or grease down a drain when washing up as these can harden in your piping system. Do not flush wet wipes or any other fibrous material down the toilet as they can easily snag on rough parts of the drain. Food waste should also be disposed of in a food waste bin.

3. If you experience a leak in your home, turn the main stopcock off immediately

You can turn off the water supply in your property using your internal stopcock to help prevent further water damage to the home. It is normally located near the kitchen sink but, if you aren’t sure where it is, check now so you know what to do if you do experience a leak. Find out more about leaks and escape of water here.

4. Maintain your boiler or heating system

You should regularly check your boiler’s pilot light. If your pilot light has a strong blue flame, then your boiler is looking healthy. If the flame is orange or yellow, action should be taken. Also, if your pressure gauge is pointing below one bar the pressure needs topping up (you must consult the boiler manual or contact a heating engineer to do this). An annual service should be carried out by a certified engineer.

5. Insulate pipes and water tanks during winter months

Frozen pipes can lead to blockages and built up pressure, which may cause a burst pipe. You should keep your home warm during sub-zero conditions to avoid this. A comfortable temperature is normally between 18-22 during the day and a bit lower at night.

6. Prepare water tanks in the loft for cold conditions

Insulate the side and top of the tank, leaving the underside clear to allow warmth from below. This will prevent the tank from freezing. In severe cold weather, leave the loft hatch open to allow heat into the roof space and water tank.

7. In the event of a leak, turn off the electricity and gas

Gas and electricity should be turned off hastily at the fuse board and isolation valve, to prevent water or gas coming into contact with live electrical appliances and causing a fire. 

8. Keep a spare set of keys with trusted people

If you are leaving your house unattended whilst on holiday, it is advisable to leave a key with a trusted neighbour or family member to check your home periodically.

9. Never overload plug sockets

Plugging too many electrical appliances in one socket can lead to overheating. Many large appliances, such as washing machines, should ideally have a socket to themselves. Extension leads are a great help but take care not to overload these too.

10. Contact your home insurance provider asap if you experience a home emergency

The sooner you contact your insurer, the sooner the emergency can be dealt with to prevent further damage. MORE THAN offer 24/7 home emergency assistance as standard and we pay out up to £200 for insured home emergencies – when a MORE THAN registered tradesperson makes the repairs. If you purchase our home emergency cover upgrade, your maximum emergency claim amount rises to £1,000. Always make a note of your Home Emergency Insurance number and keep it handy.
 

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