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What to do if you have a water leak


Having a burst pipe or water leak can be pretty stressful. That’s why we’ve put together some steps to help you be prepared if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

Who’s responsible for my water leak?

If you’re the owner of your home, you will be responsible for any leak from a pipe which runs through your property boundary into your home.

If you’re living in a rented property, this responsibility lies with your landlord.

Any pipes outside of your boundary that are leaking are responsibility of your areas local water board[1]. You can find more information on your water board here.

What should I do if I find a leak?

First thing you should do is turn off the water to the house – you do this by finding the stopcock.

How do I find the stopcock?

2 foam covered pipes. A third pipe with a red handle on it with a hand attempting to twist the handle. Stop cock.

Firstly, you must locate the internal stopcock. A stopcock is a tap/leveller which acts as a connecter to block the flow of water through your properties pipes if switched off. This can usually be found in one of the following places:

  • Under the kitchen or bathroom sink
  • Next to your gas meter
  • The cellar
  • The utility room or garage
  • The airing cupboard
  • A cupboard under the stairs
  • Near the front door

If you still can’t find its location, you may need to call your landlord if your property is rented or a plumber if the house if yours to find it for you.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with its location before anything happens, so you know where it is in an emergency.

How do I turn off my water?

Once you’ve located the stopcock, you should switch off the water supply. To do this you should turn the valve clockwise. It may be a bit stiff, if this is the case add some lubricant to it such as WD40 and then turn the valve until you feel some resistance.

Note: there may still be water in the pipes so it may take a while before the water stops running from your taps[2].

What if I can’t switch my water off?

If you’re still unable to switch off your water, it’s important to switch off the electricity at the fuse box to ensure your home is safe. You should NEVER touch any wet electrical fittings such as lights, sockets or appliances.

Once the electrics are off, place a bucket and towels under the leak to help catch and absorb the water and call a certified emergency plumber.

Ways to reduce damage to your property

A silver lever bathroom tap with water flowing out into a sink

To help reduce further damage to your property, you could also turn on all the taps to reduce the water pressure divert the water away from the leaking pipe. Another option is to open all windows and doors to help dry out the affected areas.

A burst pipe or water leak often feels like the end of the world. But here at GoSkippy we’ve got you covered if this leads to damage to your property or contents.

Get a home insurance quote today, online or give us a call on 0344 7765 395

[1] Leaks | Emergencies | Help | Thames Water

[2] Should you turn off the water supply if you go on holiday? | Comparethemarket