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Water leaks and burst pipes can cause considerable damage to your property if they are not dealt with promptly.
From leaking taps and toilets to more serious plumping leaks, it’s important to know how to spot a leak and what to do to help mitigate the damage and avoid expensive repairs.
Here CashLady looks at how to fix a water leak, including turning off your water supply, attempting a cheap DIY repair for a quick fix and knowing when it’s time to call in the professionals.
Identifying a water leak in your property
A water leak isn’t always an easily identifiable drip of water from the ceiling or gush from a pipe.
You might have a slow leak and may have noticed that your water bills are unusually high or that your lawn is slowly coming to resemble a swamp.
Common signs that you may have a water leak
- Reduced water pressure
- Damp patches on the walls inside your home
- A sound of flowing water
- A damp smell inside your property
- A Wet and sludgy front lawn
- New soft patches in the ground
- Outside paving and concrete is damp
Identifying burst pipes
Burst pipes in your water system are one of the most common plumbing problems and unfortunately, it’s also one of the most serious.
According to Direct Line, freezing weather spells have seen as many as 3,500 claims recorded for burst pipe damage in a single day, costing the average household £7,000.
The main culprit for burst pipes is freezing conditions and unprotected piping.
Freezing water in pipes can expand and crack them very quickly, resulting in a leak as soon as things warm up again.
The effects of this are often dramatic and expensive, causing severe damage to your home and your belongings.
Acting quickly when you have a water leak or burst pipes
Turn off the water supply
One thing that must always do, which will help mitigate the damage, is to get to your stopcock quickly, ideally as soon as you suspect a leak or burst.
Experts advise turning your stop valve once every six months to prevent it from seizing up.
Depending on where the leak is, you could turn off the water valve to the problematic pipe and may need a flat-head screwdriver to help you turn it.
Turning off the electricity
Water leaking close to anything electrical is extremely dangerous and so go straight to your circuit breaker box to switch off the electricity supply too.
Turning on the taps leading from your leaking pipe
If water is spilling onto the floor, then it’s important to drain all the water coming from the pipe via any linked taps.
When the water stops flowing from the pipe, you’ll know it has been completely drained so dry off the leaking pipe with a towel.
Leave the towel on the floor underneath the leaking pipe so you can catch any residual water and prevent further damage.
Identifying the leak
If the leak is simply caused by a loose joint, then you can tighten this quite easily yourself using a spanner, or even by hand.
If a pipe is leaking, you may have to remove the whole pipe and replace it. Depending on your plumbing knowledge and confidence with repairs, you may want to leave the work for a plumber or purchase the correct parts and do it yourself.
A quick fix for your water leak
Sometimes a low-cost pipe patch is all you need to enjoy years of leak-free plumbing, without the need to call out a plumber.
Leak patch kits can be found at all major DIY and home improvement stores plus some larger supermarkets.
Something as simple as duct tape may also work well. Ensure that the area is bone-dry before you wrap tape around it, and then used it to create a tight seal.
When to call a plumber
If you have tried the above methods and they haven’t worked, or the leak is severe or coming from a hidden pipe in the floor or ceiling then it’s likely that you need help from the professionals, fast.
Without the right insurance in place, you will have to pay a high premium for calling out an emergency plumber but remember that significant water damage could cost you even more.
Paying to fix your water leak
If you don’t have the spare cash or an emergency savings fund to help pay for a plumber then consider a short-term loan, designed to give you quick access to funds for life’s emergencies, such as urgent home repairs.
The sooner that you deal with your water leak the better, resulting in less damage to your home and significantly lower repair bills.