Homeowners urged to prepare for cold

05 October 2004
With winter rapidly approaching homeowners are being urged to make preparations to stop savings accounts tumbling along with temperatures.

Weather related problems like burst pipes, damaged storage tanks and leaking overflows can cost consumers hundreds of pounds, at a time when they need their heating most.

“We Brits all know what our weather can throw at us,” noted Richard Hampton, head of general insurance at HSBC.

“There's nothing worse than your heating packing up when it's freezing outside. By taking a few preventative steps now, you can reduce the chances of being left out in the cold,” he added.

The insurance arm of HSBC points out that this year some 315,000 first time buyers will be seeing winter in their own home for the first time. Similarly it will be the first time many of these have even switched on their central heating systems.

And it is not only the inexperienced that face problems - HSBC figures showed that two out of three claims it receives for burst pipes (costing an average £122 to repair) happen in January and February.

HSBC is therefore advising homeowners to give their heating and plumbing systems a "mini-MOT" now - before temperatures drop to freezing.

The insurer advises that consumers take simple steps like replacing broken washers on taps, checking lagging (insulation) on boilers and pipes, clearing the gutters of leaves and making sure everyone knows where the mains stop tap is and that it works.

And finally the insurer advises that if you are heading to warmer climes (or to the piste) do not forget your home. Open the door to your loft to allow warm air from other parts of your house to prevent pipes from freezing - and get a friend to check the building to make sure any problems are picked up early.
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