What to do if you have a water leak

Oh no, not a water leak! These can be catastrophic for homeowners. According to the Association of British Insurers, around £1.8 million is paid out every day for water damage to homes. So, if you want to avoid making a claim on your home insurance for ‘escape of water’ then you need to be prepared.

Knowing what to do when you spot a leak can make a huge difference to the outcome. Taking a few steps now to identify key components in your home plumbing system could save precious possessions in the future. Read on to discover what you need to do in the event of a leak and what you can do to prepare now.

Learn to spot the clues

A leak won’t always present itself as a sudden cascade of water gushing from your ceiling. Some leaks can be slow and far more damaging. It’s important that you learn to spot the signs of a leak, including warped floors and doorways, a damp smell or mildew on the walls. You might hear a dripping sound that becomes more noticeable when someone takes a shower or when it rains.

Find your water stop tap

If you think you’ve found a leak, your first priority might be to call a plumber. With emergency home plans, there might be a procedure to follow for a call out. But, before you pick up the phone, you need to turn off the water supply to your home. You can do this by locating the stopcock and turning it clockwise. Make sure everyone in your home knows where this is so that they can act quickly in an emergency.

How to find your stopcock

Most internal stopcocks can be found on the ground floor under the kitchen sink. Some homes will have individual stopcocks for different sections of the home but, in an emergency, you need to focus on the main stopcock. Once this is turned off, drain the pipes by turning on the cold water tap until the water stops running. This would be a good time to fill the kettle!

Turn off your heating

If you don’t yet know if the leak is coming from your heating system, it makes sense to turn this off too. You will need to turn off the water supply to your heating system by locating the shut-off valve next to your boiler. Now turn on the hot water tap to drain the system. You should also turn off the boiler at the mains by locating the relevant circuit breaker. 

Turn off electricity

If the water is anywhere near electrical outlets or appliances, switch off your power at the mains by identifying the right circuit breakers. Wall sockets and light fittings can also be damaged by water, so on the side of caution to help limit the damage and switch these off too. This will also help to make your home safe while you wait for a professional.

Call a professional

DIY plumbing is rarely a good idea unless you are confident you know what you’re doing. The consequences if things go wrong can be catastrophic, so it’s best to be safe. With an emergency home plan, you will be protected in the event that something goes wrong with the plumbing in your home. 

If the problem is related to the water mains or the communication pipes, then you will need to contact your regional water supplier. Otherwise, get in touch with an emergency plumber. 

And finally, if the leak is coming from your roof, you will need to contact a roofing professional. With our Complete Home Plan 5, you’ll be covered for roofing problems too. If the leak is coming from the roof, we’ll secure it with a heavy-duty tarpaulin to prevent further water damage. Again, this isn’t something you should tackle by yourself as you will be working at height and this can be very dangerous if you aren’t experienced and properly equipped. 

For complete peace of mind, why not take out a home and boiler care plan from YourRepair? From the roof to the drains, we can help you to create a home and boiler care plan that works for you.