What To Do If You Have a Water Leak
Every winter brings a surge of insurance claims due to burst or leaking water and waste pipes. From our experience, a burst pipe is usually associated with a mains pipe but the majority of callouts we receive are for leaks caused by badly corroded pipework or poorly fitted or failed joints which happen throughout the year. 1 in 8 homes in the UK is likely to suffer a burst pipe or water leak.
So what do you do?
Turn off your mains supply at the internal stopcock. If you don’t know where yours is now is the time to find out. 1 in 3 people in the UK do not known were their stopcock is located. Under or near the kitchen or unity room sink is the first place our plumbers look.
Turning off your mains will stop any further water pumping through any mains fed pipes and to any water storage tanks you may have.
Drain your main storage tank – If you think the leak is from the supply pipes to your taps, shower and toilet and you have a storage tank them run all your taps to drain both the tank and the pipework.
Limit the damage – Any dripping water can be caught in buckets. If the ceiling starts to bulge, and safe to do so pierce a few small holes in it to let the water drain through. Please note though that if water has been leaking for some time and your ceiling is bulging significantly, it may not be safe to enter the room.
If Safe to do so turn off your electricity – If you have ever seen a leak before, especially in a ceiling, you will know that they tend to culminate around a light fitting and run down the walls on to light switches and plug sockets.
What if you are unsure if the leak is from the water supply or heating pipes?
If it’s your water supply pipes then you have done everything you can for now.
If it’s your heating pipes make sure your boiler is turned off. Other than drain your system, if you know how to, there is very little else you can do except call your insurer and an emergency plumbing company to source and repair the leak.
If you have a sealed/pressurised system once the initial water pressure has been released the system pretty much goes into vacuum and should only drip.
Gas combi systems tend to be sealed/pressurised as do newer systems using oil heating.
If you have to contact your insurer take pictures of any damage to your property, contents and any repairs.
Don’t throw away anything you want to claim for as your insurer may need to inspect these items. If you have had to call out a plumber get a report from them. Some insurers do not cover every type of burst or leak so be aware!