The Association of British Insurers is advising homeowners and renters to repair any dripping taps to prevent the water from freezing, to find out where the stopcock is and that it is in good working order, to ensure that tanks and water pipes in the loft are insulated properly and to make sure that heating comes on at regular intervals.

Head of property with the organisation Aidan Kerr observed that the damage caused each winter by burst pipes is extensive and costly, and while home insurance can cover these costs it cannot make up for the inconvenience and misery that comes with such problems.

“Prevention is better than cure and a few simple steps can reduce the risk of facing the trauma of frozen or burst pipes during the winter,” he remarked.

If pipes do freeze, turn the water off at the stopcock straight away and wait for it to warm up. Alternatively, you can always try thawing your pipes with a hot water bottle. If you do suffer a burst pipe, turn the stopcock and central heating off, then open all your taps to drain the system.

It would also be worth checking your drains outside to clear them of any debris or fallen leaves so you can prevent a blockage and the possible flooding of your home as well.