Water damage can affect more than just your contents. In the home, it can damage your possessions and decorations. For commercial policyholders there is the potential of interruption to business.
There can also be an impact upon supply chains and damage to stock. Landlords may have to carry out urgent repairs, as well as the costs of finding alternative accommodation for their tenants.
There are many causes for an escape of water, but one common cause within UK is cold weather and freezing temperatures. During such conditions, the water in pipes freezes and expands, leading to a build-up of pressure and subsequent rupture of the pipe.
Other causes could be leaks from a faulty appliance, such as a washing machine or from around a bath or shower tray. Often relatively, simple to repair if addressed early, the problem can be more complicated when occurring in an apartment block or flat with consequent water damage spreading to the flats below.
Here are a few practical steps anyone can take to reduce the chances of an escape of water:
Make sure that the water pipes in your property are lagged properly with external pipes with foam sleeves
If an outdoor pipe is not being using in the winter months, and ideally turn off and drain completely
Maintain the heating at a low level, a lot of boilers have a ‘winter setting’
Keep an eye on your water meter; if there are sudden increases in usage then there is possibly a leak.
Know there the stop cock is, just in case.
Where pipes appear to be frozen, but not burst, it is recommended to turn the water off at the stopcock. Either the pipe can then be gently thawed with a hot water bottle or towel soaked in hot water.
Where property is left unoccupied for any length of time you can turn the water supply off at the mains and then drain down all the pipes, including the heating system. If you need to keep the water turned on then most boilers will have a winter setting, or the thermostat should be set to the minimum temperature outlined in your policy (usually around 10 to 15c). If you cannot get to the property regularly then consider asking someone local to check on the property or set up a key-holder arrangement with a local property management firm.
*The opinions and views expressed in the above articles are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The authors disclaim any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.