How do you prevent water leaks?
A simple question, but the answer is not so straight forward. Make sure you know your property and the water system. Do check your main stopcock works properly and is both easily accessible and easy to find!
A water leak is normally related to winter but these days with so many other water using gadgets a leak is quite likely to occur in any season. It can also be a problem with the different types of plumbing materials from old metal/lead, to copper and lastly plastic; getting a long lasting and secure join can sometimes be a challenge and over time the slightest movement can cause a leak to start.
If the property is empty during the Winter months, there are three basic things that must be done:
- Turn off the mains water stopcock.
- Leave the heating on low and on constant or at least on a frost setting so it turns on when the temperature inside drops to around 5 degrees.
- Open the attic hatch so there is a circulation of air.
Tenants particularly do not like to waste heat and leave a hatch open but often the pipes in a well-insulated roof space are not as well lagged as in the main property and are more likely to fracture especially with cold easterly winds.
It is worth bearing in mind, that with a lot of the modern central heating systems, they are closed units so the stopcock can be turned off without affecting the running of the boiler – the gas engineer should be asked to verify this before proceeding.
Remember before letting or leaving a property vacant get the system checked and make sure both you and the tenant know what to do in the event of an emergency.