We want to help you protect your home from water damage. Whether it is a burst pipe or there is a leak somewhere in your home, if water has escaped from where it is meant to be and caused damage to your home, then we call this ‘escape of water’.
This guidance is important, as you should know what to do if you have an escape of water. In the event of an emergency, please click here to read what to do.
What is escape of water?
Escape of water is the insurance term used to describe a water leak within your home. It is not the same as flooding which is often from extreme weather or another external event. The five most common causes of escape of water are:
- Household appliance leaks for example washing machines
- Sinks and bath drains
- Frozen pipes
- Radiator or boiler leaks
- Rainwater gutters.
How can escape of water damage affect me?
Escape of water damage can be to your personal belongings, or your home. We strongly recommend you have suitable contents insurance. If the damage to your home is significant, you may need to move into temporary accommodation whilst repairs are done. Check whether the repair is your responsibility or our responsibility.
How can I protect my home from escape of water damage?
There are several possible causes for escape of water damage, many of which are avoidable with a few simple actions.
Household appliance leaks
- Make sure your household appliances, such as washing machines or dishwashers are fitted by a competent person, e.g. a plumber as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Check your appliances for any blockages and make sure you clear out any filters regularly.
Sinks and bath drains
- Look out for signs of mould or wear and tear in the tile grout, and make sure sealant is maintained and replaced when needed.
- Do not pour cooking fat or oil down your kitchen sink or drains; they will begin to run slowly and eventually block up causing water to overflow.
- When the outdoor temperature is below freezing (0° C), try to keep your heating on frost protection to prevent the water in your pipes from freezing.
- Smart water detectors can help prevent a small leak becoming larger. It is worth checking with your utility company if these could be provided (these detectors can sometimes be provided free of charge).
Radiator / boiler leaks
- If you need to regularly top up a gas combination boiler, you may have a leak. Please stop topping up your boiler and report this to us by calling our Customer Support Centre on 01772 667 002.
- Check all radiators for obvious leaks; to do this look out for small rusting patches, water on the pipes or dampness on the floor.
- Make sure all external gutters and down pipes are clear of grass and leaves.
- Make sure you know where to find your stop tap in your home. This is usually under your sink, but may also be under the stairs or in a downstairs toilet.
- Every six months, find your stop tap and make sure you turn it off and on to help prevent your stop tap from seizing.
- There is often a small valve called a ballofix. This has a slot for a screwdriver and by turning the slot a quarter turn, you can isolate the supply to the basin, sink, bath and toilet cistern. This isolates to one appliance, allowing you to still get water to all other parts of your home.
What to do if you have an escape of water?
1. If you have escape of water in your home, such as a water leak, please take reasonable action to stop any further damage to your home. If you do not take action, this may affect your insurance claim and you may need to pay a contribution.
We recommend you:
• Switch off the water supply using the stop tap
• Switch off the appliance causing the leak if possible, or avoid using it
• Move your personal items from the affected area if possible
• Place a container to catch the leak if possible
• Soak up the leak with towels or mop if possible.
2. Please call our Customer Support Centre immediately on 0345 266 9760 to report this as an emergency repair. The line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If needed, we will then send someone to help you as soon as possible to stop the leak, or the damage caused.
We will only send someone if you can’t control the escape of water in the first instance. There will be no charge for this if it is covered as part of our responsibility to you. If you own the appliance or ignore the problem, you could be held liable for the cost of the repair. Click here to check if the repair is your responsibility.
If your home has any escape of water, please move your personal items from the affected area to avoid damage if you can. As a housing provider, we do not insure your personal items and we strongly recommend you have suitable contents insurance.