How to prevent water damage to your home

Escape of water is one of the most common home insurance claims, with even the smallest leak causing significant damage. With colder temperatures now here, it pays to be prepared.

Burst pipes

burst water pipe

A burst pipe can be the most damaging cause of escaping water in the home, due to the amount of water that can leak at staggering speed—up to 400 litres an hour.

The most common causes of burst pipes are freezing temperatures and corroded copper piping.

Pipes and water tanks should be insulated during winter, paying close attention to joints and bends. Central heating should be kept at around 10°C during cold snaps.


Leaky appliances

Water escaping from appliances—such as washing machines, dishwashers, radiators and boilers—are common causes of flooding in the home, so check pipework for leaks.

Using your water meter, it’s easy to perform a simple leak check.

First, make sure water is turned off inside and outside the home, then record the water meter reading, then wait 15 minutes before checking again.

If the meter has recorded water use during the test, it might be due to a leak.


What to do if you have an escape of water

call a plumber

There are steps you can take before calling in professional help and your insurer.

  • Turn the main stopcock off immediately 
  • Open cold taps and flush toilets to empty water from the system 
  • Switch off the central heating
  • Don’t touch any wiring or switches you think may have been affected

If in doubt, turn off your electricity at the mains. If you are going away for more than 30 days let your broker or insurer know, so you can make sure your property remains protected.


Reader’s Digest Insurance Services provide a range of home insurance policies from leading insurers such as Aviva, Ageas, Axa, Allianz and Legal & General. To discuss your home insurance and to obtain a competitive quotation, call today on 020 8069 3102.