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Homeowners 'need to check pipes'

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The London Fire Brigade has urged homeowners to check their pipes now to avert problems when the big winter freeze starts to bite.

A study completed by the brigade has shown that there is a direct link between temperatures dropping below zero and the amount of flooding incidents firefighters are called out to.

On December 18, 2010, temperatures hit minus one across large parts of the country, with firefighters attending an average of one flooded property every 12 minutes.

Overall fire crews dealt with 2,600 house floods last winter, which was the coldest on record since 1981.

They found that the most common cause of the flooding is frozen pipes forcing water to expand, which subsequently bursts the pipes.

To prevent these problems, which could lead to a home insurance claim, occurring, the London Fire Brigade is recommending that people give their pipes a quick 'MOT'.

This includes completing insulation on all pipes, the loft and the sides of water tanks, as well as opening the loft trap door on particularly cold days to allow some heat in.

They have also said that those travelling away over Christmas would benefit from getting a neighbour or a relative to check their home and keep an eye on the pipes.

Jim Knighton, London Fire Brigade's Assistant Commissioner for Operational Procedures, said: "Frozen pipes can cause devastating damage to people's properties and possessions. People need to make sure they check their pipes before heading off for the Christmas break."

© Press Association 2011