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Escapes of water are the single most common cause of property damage in the UK.  

Severe cold weather and specifically periods of prolonged freezing temperatures can cause pipes to burst, resulting in sometimes massive damage to property.  Freezing causes water to expand, damaging pipes and fixings.  When temperatures return to normal and thawing occurs the expansion damage results in leaks, sometimes catastrophic leaks.

Unlike other weather related flooding, these type of burst pipe incidents are capable of causing  damage that can affect an entire property, top to bottom. 


Unfortunately it’s often the unseen, underground and inaccessible pipes which are most vulnerable and susceptible, meaning it’s difficult to prevent from happening.  You can however reduce the risk in your property by doing the following:

  • Regularly check pipes for damage
  • Locate stop taps and shut off valves for emergencies
  • Insulate exposed pipes and tanks
  • Drain unused pipes (e.g. outside)
  • Maintain your heating system (e.g. regular boiler service)
  • Monitor heating system water pressure and water meters
  • Keep heating systems on (e.g. minimum settings)
  • Circulate warm air around the property (e.g. open loft spaces)

Pipe bursts often cause catastrophic water damage however sometimes it may be less obvious.  Some early warning signs to watch out for can be:

  • Heating making unusual sounds or won’t work properly
  • Water supply/pressure affected
  • Sinks not draining properly
  • Toilets filling slower than normal
  • Water Patches on ceilings, walls and floors
  • Bulging in ceilings and walls

If you have identified a damaged frozen pipe which hasn’t yet leaked turn off the water supply and isolate the supply to the pipe and/or shut off the mains water supply drain your system.


In the case of a catastrophic water leak, take action quickly to minimise the damage (e.g. shut off the water supply, drain the system and turn off the electricity power at the mains) whilst keeping yourself and others safe. 

Notify your insurer, document and record damage (e.g. photos & videos) and take all reasonable steps to prevent further damage (e.g. remove/protect unaffected items).

Planning, preparation and preparedness are key to making your property more resilient to Freeze-Thaw Pipe Burst incidents, however when the work happens we are here and ready to help you recover and get back to normal quickly and effectively.

Our nationwide team of experts are on hand and ready to provide the following services as part of a ‘single source property damage solution’:

  • Emergency plumbing and heating repairs
  • Electrical safety checks and temporary supply
  • Technical Damage Assessment & Reporting
  • Strip outs
  • Inventory, removal & storage and disposal
  • Cleaning & disinfection
  • Drying
  • Repairs, re-instatement and re-decoration


BELFOR have been providing services to the insurance industry for over 35 years.  We are a preferred service provider with agreements in place with most insurers so will likely be appointed to manage your damage, providing all appropriate reporting, documentation and certification.

If we are not appointed or you are managing the loss yourself, please feel to contact us directly and make arrangements for us to help you recover.