Martin Lewis: Benefit claimants may get 'free money' for insulating their home
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Have you ever laid awake at night terrified by a noise you’ve heard from somewhere in your home? Maybe you’ve watched one too many scary movies, or listened to too many true crime podcasts. Chances are it’s not a poltergeist and there’s a very simple explanation. However, there are some noises your house makes you must never ignore.
Hearing odd noises coming from your house is understandably disconcerting.
The odd creaking or popping noise late at night when the lights are off can lead you to imagine your house is haunted, or give you nightmares about an intruder.
But rest assured: it’s perfectly normal for your house to make strange noises, especially when the temperature changes.
As the UK is experiencing a chilly November, your home will be adapting to the chill in the air.
Especially at night, when the temperature drops to its lowest point and humidity levels fall, your house actually shrinks slightly.
All of the building materials making up your house – concrete, plywood, bricks, glass – all expand with rising temperatures and contract when the temperature drops.
These building materials expand and contract at different rates, so cause friction by rubbing against each other, sometimes causing a popping sound.
However, if you hear a loud pop, or a gurgling sound, you should not ignore it: this could be a sign of burst pipes.
The winter is the most common time for frozen pipes in the UK, and if frozen pipes cause pipes to burst, it can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare.
If the temperature outside gets really cold, it can cause the water in your pipes to freeze.
Water expands as it freezes, which puts pressure on the pipe which can lead to it bursting, especially if the pipes are old, or depending on the shape of the pipe.
Burst pipes are not cheap: according to the Association of British Insurers, the cost of insurance claims for a burst pipe can rise to £7,500.
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How can you avoid frozen pipes?
Before we head into the coldest months of winter, get your boiler serviced.
You should have your boiler serviced every year, keeping your heating system in tip-top condition for when the temperature drops.
Insulating pipes and water tanks will also prevent your pipes from freezing.
You can buy pipe lagging and tank jackets from most DIY stores and fit them yourself.
According to British Gas, the most important areas to insulate are:
- Outside pipework
- Pipes in the coldest areas of your house, such as the attic or basement
- Water tanks
Set your heating so it comes on a couple of times a day, or stays on at a low temperature.
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