Escapes of water are a primary cause of making an insurance claim. The maintenance and upkeep on hidden away water pipes and the seemingly unimportant task of resealing washing facilities are often overlooked. It is important to bear in mind that leaks can also be invisible until it is too late. Be sure that you are regularly having maintenance checks and following these simple yet effective tips.

Often leaks caused by lack of or worn sealant are slow and undetectable but are one of the most common causes of leaks through floors and ceilings. Having fixtures resealed is a fast and economically viable way to prevent your home from being subject to a leak. If the grout around your fixtures appears to have black sections or looks worn you may presume that this is due to natural deterioration of decoration or a build-up of dirt and grime. Sealant plays an important part of keeping your home safe especially where showers, toilets, sinks and other water dependent fittings are concerned. By having your appliances resealed you are not only preventing a costly overhead in repairs but maintaining cosmetic appeal.

Be sure that water pipes in your property are sufficiently lagged. The insulation keeps the pipe work warm to prevent frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can become hazardous as they expand which can lead to pressure points causing leaks in the system. To avoid the potentially disastrous effects of an escape of water you should set a timer on your central heating while you are away for long periods of time so that it prevents them from freezing. If your pipes do freeze, use warm (not boiling) water to slowly thaw the pipework. In the event of an escape of water be sure to call an emergency plumber as soon as possible. Leaking pipework, left to its own devices, will never fix itself even if it appears to have stopped leaking.

It is important to know where your stop tap is. In the event of an escape of water, it is vital to know how to turn your water supply off to assist in mitigating loss. Escapes of water makes up 24% of all home insurance claims in the UK. With such a high risk of burst pipes and water damages, especially during the winter months, do not chance any damages taking place in your home. Insurers will expect their policyholders to mitigate as much damage as possible so it is vital to know where your stopcock is and how to use it. Stopcocks can be found in a variety of places both outside and inside a property so if you are unsure where yours is located do not leave it to chance. Here are some of the common places:

  • Under the kitchen sink
  • In the cupboard, under the stairs
  • In the downstairs hallway- under the floorboards
  • In the cellar
  • In the hallway cupboard
  • Behind the washing machine
  • Under the entrance floor where you may have a door mat
  • In the front garden near the boundary
  • Near the gas meter
  • Boiler room or plant room (if you have a commercial property)

Once you have found yours make sure you know how to use it and that the tap itself has not seized up and it still turns easily. Depending on the type of tap you have it may require pliers to turn it or get it moving. If you think this might be an issue for either yourself or anyone you know who is elderly or frail then you may want to fit a Sure Stop device which will turn water off to a property at the press of a button.

Hairline cracks often look like cosmetic blemishes. In fact, these small and often unnoticeable fractures can be caused by anything from an increase of pressure to drastic temperature changes.  Apart from compromising the structural integrity of the appliance, a hairline crack can be the cause of an escape of water. Appliances often subject to hairline cracks include but are not limited to basins, cisterns, shower trays and many other ceramic fixtures. If caught and treated promptly there are simple yet effective ways to patch the damage before replacements of appliances are required.