‘Escape of water' is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims. Yet a few simple precautions can reduce the risk of serious water damage to your home.
If you do have a problem, use your stopcock to cut off the flow of water and minimise the damage caused. Our research shows that one in three homeowners don't know where their stopcock is located, so make sure you know where it is.
1. What To Do If Your Pipe Bursts
- Look out for leaks in the piping under your kitchen and bathroom sinks
- Fix an external dripping tap as soon as possible to avoid water damage through the outside wall
- Regularly check your washing machine and dishwasher pipes for leaks, bulging or cracking. Get new pipes fitted if you spot any problems
- Ask someone to check your home if you're away for a while. This should help ensure leaking or burst pipes are spotted early and damage is kept to a minimum (tell them where the stopcock is)
- If you're planning some DIY, remember to check for hidden pipes with a detection device before starting work in order to avoid accidentally drilling or hammering into pipes.
2. Keep your Drains Clear
- Avoid putting any food waste down the sink as this can cause a blockage
- Never pour fat down the sink. Instead, let it cool and then put it in a container for disposal
- Regularly clear out basins, baths and shower drains with a suitable cleaning agent to prevent blockages. Use a plumber's snake to remove any small blockages from your plumbing.
- If your pipes do burst, take the following steps to ensure damage is minimised as much as possible:
3. Turn Off the Water
- Make sure everyone in the house knows where the stop cock to your mains water supply is located and how to use it. It’s usually located under the sink, bathroom, cloakroom, beneath the stairs or in the garage. Drain the pipe of water by turning on all cold taps and flushing all your toilets. Then switch off the water heating system and turn on all hot taps to help in draining the water supply system. Simply put, when there is no water left in the pipe the leaking will subside.
4. Switch Off the Electricity Mains
- You should never touch wet electrical appliances; remind those in the house of this also. Then turn off the electricity mains without delay.
5. Exercise Caution
- If your household leak that has gone undetected for some time, in the attic for example, upstairs floors and ceiling may have become unstable under the weight of retained water. Never walk across a bulging floor as it could give way.
6. Call in the Professionals
- Once you have detected the site of the leak call for a plumber without delay. And depending on the severity of the water damage to your home you should call upon the services of a water damage restoration company. It’s important to remember that the secondary effects of the flood such as mould growth, corrosion and structural deterioration can be potentially more significant than the initial damage itself. A quick reaction time will help to curtail the amount of damage done and the cost to restore your home.
For protection against plumbing and drainage emergencies you can add Home Membership to your AA home insurance policy.
It provides 24-hour assistance with many more household emergencies, including internal electrics, your central heating, and routine repairs too.
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