Ireland is bracing for a spell of very rough weather this week. Unforeseen events can always occur, but there are certain steps you can take to minimise risk to yourself and your home in advance of extreme weather. Water damage from burst pipes is a common issue in freezing temperatures, while driving conditions become hazardous and using your car is best avoided if at all possible.
Here’s a checklist to help you prepare.
Protecting your home:
If your house is unoccupied for 14 days or more, make sure to turn off the water supply and drain all the water from the system. Don’t forget that this also applies to holiday homes or unoccupied rental properties. Your cover will be impacted if this isn’t done.
- Find out where the mains water stopcock is, and make sure it turns off easily; you may need quick access to this in the event of frozen pipes.
- Make sure your home is heated for a part of each day and night to ensure that water in pipes does not freeze.
- Open the attic door to allow heat to circulate into the attic.
- Ensure there is no insulation under your water storage tank in attic. If there is, remove it, so as to allow heat from the house to circulate.
- Ensure the pipes in your attic and external pipes are properly lagged. The more insulation the better.
- Ensure that cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes are sealed with caulking.
- In your kitchen and bathrooms, keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
- If you plan to be away overnight, ensure that the heating is on for a part of the evening or night and leave the attic door open to allow heat to circulate in the space.
- If your pipes do freeze, turn the water off and thaw them out slowly with hot water bottles.
For information about filing a Home Insurance claim after bursting pipes have caused damage to your home, click here.
Protecting yourself on the road:
Driving is best avoided altogether in icy conditions, but we understand that some journeys are necessary. If your journey is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to minimise risk.
- Make sure that there is clear vision through all windows before setting off.
- Check tyres for baldness and ensure that they are inflated to the correct pressure.
- Check that your car lights are all working before you set off on your journey.
- Try using main roads on your journey. They are more likely to be cleared and had grit put down to help with snow and ice.
- Always keep your distance from the car in front.
- Don’t rush; slow acceleration and braking will help you control your car on snow and ice covered roads.
- Never leave your car keys in the ignition while your car is unattended, even if you are waiting for your car windows to defrost or for your car to heat up.
- Make sure to regularly check your fuel level to avoid being stranded in the freezing weather.
- Be sure to bring heavy clothes so that you can stay warm in the event that you experience a breakdown and your car heating stops working; it's important to stay warm while waiting for help to arrive.
- In the event of a breakdown, call our Breakdown Assistance team on 01 241 8572.
Be sure to keep an eye on www.met.ie for weather updates.