Escape of water
Published on 08 February 2022
Whether it’s a burst pipe or a leak in your home, if water has escaped and caused damage, we call this ‘escape of water’ – and it’s important to know what to do if it happens.
What is escape of water?
Escape of water is the insurance term used to describe a water leak within your home. It’s not the same as flooding which is often from extreme weather or another external event.
What are the five most common causes of escape of water?
- Household appliance leaks, for example washing machines
- Sinks and bath drains
- Frozen pipes
- Radiator or boiler leaks
- Rainwater gutters.
How can escape of water damage affect me?
Escape of water can damage your personal belongings and your home, so we strongly recommend you have suitable contents insurance. If the damage to your home is significant, you may need to move into temporary accommodation whilst repairs are done. Check whether the repair is your responsibility or our responsibility.
How can I protect my home from escape of water damage?
Household appliance leaks
- Make sure your household appliances, such as washing machines or dishwashers, are fitted by a competent person, e.g., a plumber as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Check your appliances for any blockages and make sure you clear out any filters regularly.
Sinks and bath drains
- Look out for signs of mould or wear and tear in the tile grout, and make sure sealant is maintained and replaced when needed.
- Do not pour cooking fat or oil down your kitchen sink or drains; they will begin to run slowly and eventually block up – causing water to overflow.
- When the outdoor temperature is below freezing (0° C), try to keep your heating on frost protection to prevent the water in your pipes from freezing.
- Smart water detectors can help prevent a small leak becoming larger. It’s worth checking with your utility company if these could be provided (sometimes free of charge).
Radiator / boiler leaks
- If you need to regularly top up a gas combination boiler, you may have a leak. Please report this to us by calling our Customer Contact Centre on 01772 667 002 (England) or 0131 657 0600 (Scotland).
- Check all radiators for obvious leaks. Look out for small rusting patches, water on the pipes, or dampness on the floor.
Ensure all external gutters and down pipes are clear of grass and leaves.
- Ensure you know where to find your stop tap in your home. This is usually under your sink, but may also be under the stairs or in a downstairs toilet.
- Every six months, make sure you turn your stop tap off and on to help prevent it from seizing.
- There is often a small valve called a ballofix. This has a slot for a screwdriver, and by turning the slot a quarter turn, you can isolate the supply to the basin, sink, bath, and toilet cistern. This isolates to one appliance, allowing you to still get water to all other parts of your home.
What do I do if I have an escape of water?
- If you have escape of water in your home, such as a water leak, please take reasonable action to stop any further damage to your home. If you don’t take action, this may affect your insurance claim and you may need to pay a contribution.
We recommend you:
- Switch off the water supply using the stop tap
- Switch off the appliance causing the leak if possible, or avoid using it
- Move your personal items from the affected area if possible
- Place a container to catch the leak if possible
- Soak up the leak with towels or mop if possible
- Please call our Customer Contact Centre immediately on 01772 667 002 (England) or 0131 657 0600 (Scotland) to report this as an emergency repair. The line is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If needed, we’ll then send someone to help you as soon as possible to stop the leak, or the damage caused.
We’ll only send someone if you can’t control the escape of water in the first instance. There will be no charge for this if it’s covered as part of our responsibility to you. If you own the appliance or ignore the problem, you could be held liable for the cost of the repair. Click here to check if the repair is your responsibility.
If your home has any escape of water, please move your personal items from the affected area to avoid damage if possible. As a housing provider, we do not insure your personal items and we strongly recommend you have suitable contents insurance.