Home insurance aside, what do you do if a pipe bursts?
Water can spread very quickly in a house, potentially ruining carpets and furnishings. And it might lead to expensive repair bills to your ceiling, floorboards - or even dividing walls.
Having the right insurance could help if things go wrong. So it’s important to check your home insurance or buildings insurance policy to make sure you have all the cover you need. Halifax offers great value house insurance for both your home and contents - have a look at their website to find out more.
But it’s also really important to know what to do if disaster does strike. Here is a handy step-by-step guide to dealing with burst pipes.
Step 1 - cut off the water supply to your home
While this is a simple matter of turning off the stopcock, it’s surprising how many people don’t know where to find this in their home. And in the heat of the moment when your pipes have burst and water is going everywhere, it might be difficult to think rationally. So locate your stopcock in advance and make a note of where it is… just in case.
Step 2 - drain the system
Once your water supply is turned off, make sure you get rid of any water left in the system. To do this simply turn the cold water taps on and flush your toilets.
Step 3 - check the electrics
Water and electrics don’t mix. So if water is leaking near your electrics or your electrical appliances, switch of the mains immediately. But if the mains switch is wet - don’t touch it as you could risk being electrocuted. Instead, call a qualified electrician immediately.
Step 4 - stay safe
If the leak is small - or you have caught it soon after it started - you might just need to put a bucket under the leak, or mop it up. But if the leak is more extensive, it might have affected the structure of your floors or ceilings. Don’t risk going into a room if the ceiling or flooring is bulging or there are signs that it might collapse.
Step 5 - bail out
You might be able to minimise damage by baling out some of the water from your home, with buckets or small pails, or even pushing it through the door using a stiff brush. The sooner you can stop the spread of the water, the less damage your home will suffer.
Step 6 - call a plumber
It’s always a good idea to have the number of a plumber somewhere safe. But if you don’t know a reliable plumber, ask around to see who your friends and neighbours would recommend. And if you don’t know your neighbours too well, asking their advice on plumbers can be a surprisingly good ice-breaker.
Step 7 - call your insurer
The sooner you call your home insurance provider, the better. They will probably want to know how the leak has happened and what parts of your home it affects - and may also want to send someone out to assess the damage.
After your insurance claim is settled, you’ll want to get things back to normal at home. But while it's on your mind, it might be a good time to think how you can protect your home from burst pipes in the future - perhaps by insulating your loft, or cladding the pipes. As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.