There are many ways in which water loss can occur in a home. Fortunately though, the vast majority of these can be avoided with a bit of forward planning and routine maintenance. Here are some of the more prevalent sources of water escape in Irish homes and our top tips on how to prevent and fix such issues:
Where can I find my stop tap?
If the problem involves escaping of water (e.g. a burst pipe), you'll need to try to stop the leak or turn off the water supply as soon as you can to reduce any damage. Stop taps (also sometimes called a stop valve or stopcock) turn off your water supply and are usually found in the following places:
• kitchen sink
• kitchen cupboard
• downstairs bathroom or toilet
• garage or utility room
• under the stairs
Turn the valve clockwise to turn off the water supply. It may take a few minutes for the water to stop altogether.
Preventing and fixing Leaking Pipes
Following the below tips will help ensure that you can prevent your home’s pipes from leaking and limit the amount of water loss damage associated with them if and when they do leak:
- • Schedule regular maintenance: All parts of a fixed water system, such as boilers, radiators stop valves, taps and all piping should be inspected by a qualified plumber at least once a year, particularly in the run up to the cold winter months.
- • Consider automatic leak detection systems: Advanced devices can detect and automatically shut off the water supply if leaks are detected, preventing further damage.
- • Apply insulating lagging to pipes: Ensure that pipes are all adequately lagged (insulated), particularly in cold areas like the attic, outbuildings or where pipes are external, so they do not freeze. Water tanks and cisterns should also be fitted with adequate lagging insulation. Ensure that insulation is on top of roof piping, not under, to benefit from heating coming from below.
- • Open attic door to allow in heat: Leaving the attic door open while the heating is on will allow warm air to reach pipes high up in the attic and prevent them from freezing.
- • Fix dripping taps: Replacing taps’ washers will stop dripping in most cases.
- • Set timed heating while away: If you are away from home over the winter months, set the heating to come on when the temperature drops below a certain point to prevent freezing.
- • Drain the system: If your home is to be unoccupied for a long time, drain all systems of water as this will ensure that no freezing can occur.