If you need to turn off your water supply quickly in an emergency:
1. Turn off the water supply Turn off your inside stop tap – it should where your water pipe comes into your home such as in the cupboard under the kitchen sink or in a downstairs toilet. Find your stop tap.
Turn on all your cold taps to drain the system.
Keep an eye on your ceilings. If water has been leaking for a while, there may be damaged plaster waiting to fall. If the water starts to bulge carefully make a hole in the ceiling to let water out.
2. Turn off water heating systems Switch off your central heating, immersion heater and any other water heating systems. If the central heating uses solid fuel, let this die out.
Once your water heating has shut down, turn on the hot taps to help drain the system.
3. Turn off the electrics If water leaks near anything electrical – lights, sockets or appliances – don’t touch them. Switch off the electricity supply straight away. Electrical wiring damaged by water can be very dangerous and you will probably need to call in a professional to repair any damage.
Checking for leaks is something everyone should do regularly.
Tell-tale signs to help you spot leaks include: - Damp patches in or outside the property. - Lush vegetation in dry periods may be indications of leaking pipes. - Leaking toilets. - Leaking overflow systems.
Metered customers If your meter reading or bill is unusually high it may indicate you have a leak. You can use your meter to check if you have a leak on the pipework after the meter: - Turn off all taps - Find your water meter and take a reading (including the red digits) - Do not use any water for a length of time (eg overnight or while you are out for the day). - Read the meter again If the second reading is higher than the first there may be a leak.
When your overflow pipe is leaking, it may indicate that you've got a problem with the float valve.
The float valve is usually a plastic ball at the end of a metal arm in the tank that's usually found in the loft. It controls the water level of the tank and will cause your overflow pipe to leak if it's faulty.
The most common problems include a leak in the float, which means it needs replacing, or a fault with its washers, which will need refitting. If you do have a leak you may wish to contact an approved plumber.
Leaky loos are one of the most common causes of unexpectedly high water use but aren't easy to spot as the water just dribbles away down the pan.
A single leaky loo can waste up to 400 litres of water a day – the equivalent of five full bathtubs.
How to spot a leaky loo If you can hear water flowing but the toilet has not been flushed, or if you can see a constant trickle at the back of the toilet pan, you may have a leaky loo.
Wait until 30 minutes after the last flush then wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet tissue. Place a new, dry sheet of toilet tissue across the back of the pan. Leave it in place for up to three hours without using the toilet (this may be best to do overnight).
If the paper is wet or torn in the morning, you have a leaky loo.
Who's responsible for fixing a leak on a shared supply?
You may share your supply pipe with your neighbours. This is common if you live in a terraced property or a flat.
Who's responsible? We understand that because the supply pipe is shared between other properties this can often require a degree of co-operation and agreement between neighbours and fixing it may involve accessing a property which is not directly responsible for the pipe.
What can you do? The pipe that supplies your fresh water is vital to any home and we want to help you keep it in tip top condition.
Please note that if the supply pipe is over 30 years old we recommend you consider having it replaced.
Meet with your neighbours This leak should be fixed as quickly as possible, so it’s important not to ignore the issue.
Organising a meeting with your neighbours will ensure everyone is aware of the issue and help you identify which properties are responsible for getting the leak fixed.
Check if you have insurance cover It may be you have cover for your water supply pipe, for example through a company such as HomeServe.
Fix the leak privately If the insurance doesn’t cover leaks you will have to fix the leak privately. We can supply a list of approved plumbers and contractors who’ll be able to provide a quote.
If you are still unsure if your supply is shared or who has responsibility for fixing it please contact us
Why should I use an approved plumber or contactor?
There are lots of reasons why we recommend you always use an approved plumber or contractor:
- Approved plumbers and contractors are fully qualified to carry out plumbing work in homes and business premises. - They agree to adhere to the WaterSafe customer commitments, conditions of membership and rules of the scheme. - All WaterSave approved business are required to carry out work in accordance with the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws. These ensure there should be no risk from poor installation or sub-standard materials that could cause contamination of your drinking water supply. - They will issue a 'work completed' certificate, which provides a defence for property owners who are challenged by a water supplier enforcing the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws. - For most types of plumbing work, plumbers have a legal duty to notify the water supplier before they start work and this can lead to delays. Approved businesses can carry out some work without the need to provide advanced notification to the water supplier. - Approved businesses hold public and employers' liability insurance. - There is an independent complaints procedure in place to resolve any technical disputes about how the work has been carried out, should a concern arise. - Approved businesses will be required to put their work right if it does not meet the requirements of the Water Fittings Regulations or Byelaws, enforced by the water supplier. - Approved businesses are audited to check they are complying with the rules of their Approved Contractors' Scheme.
If we suspect a leak on a private water supply pipe, we’ll issue a Defective Fittings Notice (DFN) to bring the leak to your attention, along with an information pack.
If there is a leak on your property you’ll need to fix it as quickly as possible. Leaks can cause damage to your property and if you have a meter it could increase how much you pay. If left unattended, leaking water can also cause flooding and ground movement.
The Defective Fittings Notice will outline the number of days that you have to repair the leak.
If you don't repair the leak or replace the pipework within the given timeframe, we will repair the leak for you but you'll need to pay for the cost of the repairs.
We issue these notices for leaks because under Sections 73 and 75 of the Water Industry Act we have a responsibility to prevent water being wasted from our network.
There could be several reasons why barriers are left on site:
- If the hole is still open: This may mean that further investigation is required, or that problems have delayed backfilling the hole.
- If the hole is backfilled: We try and operate a 'first-time permanent reinstatement' system, which means we’ll repair the leak and reinstate the ground to a permanent level within a few days. This saves on materials and helps to reduce our carbon footprint
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