Leaking valves or burst pipes are the last things that you want to deal with. However, if not addressed quickly, water leaks can cause significant damage to your home. Even small drips can cause serious damage and sometimes affect the stability and integrity of floors and walls.
The first thing homeowners should do when they see a leak is to identify the source and then isolate it.
Many toilets, taps, and plumbed appliances come with isolation valves that allow you to isolate water to that outlet. This can be very useful if there is a leak after the isolation valve.
Some isolation valves come with a small handle that can be turned 90° to turn off the water. Others have a slot that requires a flat head screwdriver. To close the slotted head, you’ll need a small flat-head screwdriver.
If you do not have an isolation valve or the leak is located before it, you will need shut off water to the entire property. You can also read about Five Signs to Contact a Plumber by clicking here.
Your Stop Cock can be closed to isolate mains water from your property. This will in most cases stop or slow down the leak. You can find Stop Cocks anywhere in your house, but they are most likely to be on the ground floor. Stop Cocks are most commonly located under the kitchen sink. They can also be found inside the cupboard. However, they can sometimes be found below the cupboard.
Do not wait until an emergency occurs. Find the location of your Stop Cock in your home and make sure you have the Emergency Plumbers numbers visible in your home.
The Stop Cock might not be able to stop your leak completely. Heating appliances, such as radiators, that are connected to water storage systems like a header tank or cylinder, will continue to leak until the water is gone.
To catch any water that is not being used, place a bucket or other container underneath the leak.
If you are not certain about the type of heating/hot water system you have, it is not recommended that hot water taps be drained. Unvented pressurized systems can sometimes create a vacuum. Hot water cylinders may explode if the mains water supply is disconnected and hot water is drained out of the cylinder.
You should now clean up the area around the leak with towels, rags, and mops to remove as much water from the area as possible to minimize damage and prevent mold and mildew growth.
If you suspect or see that there is a significant leak, or if the leak has occurred in an area where electrical outlets are present, it’s best to turn off the electrics until the area is completely dried.
Once you have found the leak and cleaned the area, it is time to fix or replace the problem. If you are not a competent and confident DIYer, it’s best to call a professional plumber to repair the leak and inspect for further damage.
After locating your main water supply, you should immediately contact an emergency plumber in the event of a larger leak.