20% of Brighton and Hove homeowners hit with average bill of £1,635 due to winter weather

The Argus: 20% of Brighton and Hove homeowners hit with average bill of £1,635 due to winter weather 20% of Brighton and Hove homeowners hit with average bill of £1,635 due to winter weather

One in five homeowners have been hit with an average bill of £1,635 in the last five years after failing to prepare for severe winter weather.

The research revealed that nearly 23,000 homes in Brighton and Hove were hit by snow, sleet and storms costing the city’s homeowners about £37.5 million.

Of the properties affected, 43% had problems with their roofs, 23% struggled with frozen pipes and boiler failure was the issue in 18% of the homes.

Experts are now warning residents to be more prepared as Arctic storms are set to batter the UK this Christmas, including winds of more than 100mph, or face even higher costs.

Despite the soaring costs, less than a third of households have had their boiler serviced, with nearly 75% of residents opting not to clear their gutters.

Keith Brand, 63, managing director of K Brand Building Ltd based in Hove, said: “I think it comes down to maintenance.

“There are plenty of Government schemes out there that help people out with insulation and other sort of things, but in my experience, people just aren’t taking them up on the offer.

“I’m a builder and I’ve done it – they came round to us and insulated our roof and all the pipes for about £110.

“There are lots of things that people could be doing to help themselves, but I just think it’s a sign of the times.

“But if people paid out that £100 or so, they could be saving themselves a lot of money in the long run.

"A lot of people I speak to just aren’t aware they’re able to have this heavily subsidised work done, and maybe the Government needs to do more to let them know what they’re entitled to.”

Among the other problems suffered by residents were damaged fences and garden walls – accounting for 24% of the costs – and interruption to power supply making up 19%.

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line home insurance which did the survey, said: “It is important to plan ahead and make sure your home is properly protected from the winter weather.

“During the colder months, leave the heating on at approximately 15 degrees on the thermostat to avoid cold related property issues.

“Find out now where your stopcock is and know how to turn off the water supply in event of an emergency.

“You really don’t want to be looking for it when water is coming through the ceiling if a pipe bursts in the cold.”

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