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You may not know it, but your property is packed with pipes: in your walls, under your floors and connected to dozens of fixtures and appliances, your home’s plumbing will get water wherever it is needed.

However, this plumbing will only last for so long without proper maintenance. When a pipe or hose springs a leak, the escaping water can do serious damage to a property if left unchecked. Granted, a case of damp or mould may not sound too dangerous, but serious moisture damage can also affect a property’s structural integrity.

If you suspect that you have a water leak, it will be important to act quickly in order to minimise the damage. A local plumber can provide a water leak detection and repair service, though in the meantime it will be a good idea to isolate the leak if possible. If the leak causes a damp patch, you may also need a local damp proof specialist to fully assess the damage.
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How to deal with a water leak

If you suspect that you have a water leak in your home, the first thing to do will be to isolate it. This will cut off the supply of water to the area, stopping the leak and hopefully minimising the damage. 

You can do this by turning the property’s stop valve, which can usually be found either under the kitchen sink or next to the water meter (if you have one). In some properties the valve may also be located either in the garage or main bathroom. Unfortunately, renovated properties will often have the valve in an inconvenient spot, such as under the floorboards or in a fitted cupboard. In a case like this, you may need to use tools to access the valve, though you can also leave this to an emergency plumber.

The downside of using your stop valve is that it will leave the rest of your property without water. Depending on where your leak actually is, however, there may be a way around this. If the leak can be found on a pipe or hose leading to a fixture or appliance, such as a tap or washing machine, you should be able to find another valve to only isolate that specific area.

  • For a washing machine or dishwasher, this valve can usually be found behind the machine or on the pipework/ hose leading to it. Turn the cap carefully; if you force it, you could snap it off completely
  • For a tap or toilet, the valve can usually be operated using a flat head screwdriver. Turn it 90%, until the groove is facing the same direction as the pipe

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If for whatever reason you cannot isolate the leak, it will be all the more important to have a plumber come and address the issue. In the meantime, there are still other ways to minimise the damage:

  • Switch off your property’s electricity at the fuse box
  • Place a bucket under the leak
  • If the leaking pipe is exposed, wrap a towel around the leak
  • Turn on taps elsewhere to reduce the water pressure in the system
  • Contact your insurance provider in case the damage is severe