Reduce your risk | Stay safe and help us all stay ahead What to do if you experience water damage

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Water damage in the home can cause a lot of problems and lasting damage so it’s worth knowing what the risks are and how to prevent water damage in your home.

Tiled FloorIn 2010 at the height of the cold season there were 3.5 thousand burst pipe claims everyday across the UK.The cost of replacing water damaged contents can be huge, replacement kitchens or carpets can run into thousands of pounds. We have outlined some of the things you can look for and do to prevent this happening in your home.

Causes of water damage

Burst pipes
As mentioned above, burst water pipes caused by pipes freezing are the most common cause of water damage in the home. Ice can build up much quicker than you may expect, leaving your pipes vulnerable to bursting.

Push-to-fit sink fittings
Another rising cause of water damage in the home is push-fit fittings for sinks. Push-fit sink fittings simply require you to push the fitting straight onto your pipe, so there is no need for complex tools or DIY. These are becoming increasingly popular but are often fitted incorrectly, leading to leaks which can turn into more serious flooding and water damage.

Lack of exterior maintenance
Blocked and overflowing guttering and damaged roof tiles are also a big cause of leaking and can easily infiltrate inside the home. Many people don’t actively check their roof or guttering and the water can cause damage on the outside and inside of the house.

Preventing water damage

To try and prevent water damage in your home there are a few things you can do.

Pipes
Firstly, for burst pipes you should always make sure that your home heating system is set at a minimum 10°C, especially when you are on holiday or you let property is empty. This will mean the pipes should remain above freezing temperature.

People often install insulation underneath their pipes, so the pipes remain very cold and prone to freezing. It’s always better to insulate above your piping if possible, but when this isn’t possible you can get grey tubular insulation from any DIY store that will just pop onto your pipes and help keep them warm.

Push- to fit sink fittings
If you have a push-fit sink fitting, always make sure this is pushed on correctly all the way down. Often these need to be pushed in more than you may realise – when it is fitted correctly you should hear a clicking noise. Always make sure you read the instructions thoroughly and have pushed the fittings together as far as they will go.

Guttering and roof tiles
And lastly, always make sure your roof and guttering are well maintained. You should check these regularly, clear any debris from the guttering and make sure you replace roof tiles that are missing or damaged. To check your roof it is always safer to get a professional to do the job, we recommend getting someone to have a look about twice a year.

If you have an unoccupied let property or holiday home, do check it very regularly and make sure you don’t get caught out by any Unoccupancy Clauses in your insurance policy.

What to do if you have water damage

If you’ve had a leak, even if you think you can deal with it yourself, it’s always worth getting a specialist in to check everything is undamaged. Even small leaks can penetrate between walls where you aren’t able to dry and cause mould growth if not dealt with properly. If you are suffering from a severe water leak you should call a specialist team immediately to minimise the damage.

Richfords Fire & Flood Specialists recommend that after a leak or in-house flooding you should check that the electrics are safe and unaffected before using any electrical equipment.

To protect the contents of your home after water damage there are several things you can do. You can wrap photos and papers in polythene bags and freeze them to prevent mould growth, ready to be dried out in the future. You can also put saucers underneath furniture to stop water from carpets and flooring rising up through them and damaging them.

You can find further advice on dealing with water damage from Richfords download their Self help advice for owners of flooded properties or visit: http://www.richfords.com