Home plumbing tips

Protect your home against water damage

'Escape of water' is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims. Yet a few simple precautions can reduce the risk of serious water damage to your home.

If you do have a problem, use your stopcock to cut off the flow of water and minimise the damage caused. Our research shows that one in three homeowners don't know where their stopcock is located, so make sure you know where it is.

Avoid damage from leaks

  • Look out for leaks in the piping under your kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Fix an external dripping tap as soon as possible to avoid water damage through the outside wall
  • Regularly check your washing machine and dishwasher pipes for leaks, bulging or cracking. Get new pipes fitted if you spot any problems
  • Ask someone to check your home if you're away for a while. This should help ensure leaking or burst pipes are spotted early and damage is kept to a minimum (tell them where the stopcock is)

If you're planning some DIY, remember to check for hidden pipes with a detection device before starting work in order to avoid accidentally drilling or hammering into pipes.

Prevent frozen pipes in winter

  • Insulate your pipes and water storage tank. Pay close attention to joints and bends, and put the insulation foam on top of pipes rather than underneath them
  • Turn off any indoor valves on pipes leading to outside taps. Then, open the outside tap and leave it open to let any water drain out to ensure there's no water in the pipes to freeze
  • Repair any dripping taps. If they freeze, they'll block your pipes
  • Regularly check all the taps in your home during the winter months. If little or no water flows, there may be frozen water in the pipes
  • If you are away from home in the winter, set your central heating to come on for a short period each day to prevent pipes from freezing. Don't be tempted to turn the heating off while you're away

If your pipes do freeze, turn the water off at the mains and thaw them out slowly with hot water bottles. Never use a heat gun or blow torch to do this.

Keep your drains clear

  • Avoid putting any food waste down the sink as this can cause a blockage
  • Never pour fat down the sink. Instead, let it cool and then put it in a container for disposal

Regularly clear out basins, baths and shower drains with a suitable cleaning agent to prevent blockages. Use a plumber's snake to remove any small blockages from your plumbing.

Help for your household emergencies

For protection against plumbing and drainage emergencies you can add Home Emergency Cover to your AA home insurance policy.

Or choose from our Home Membership options, which provide 24-hour assistance with many more household emergencies, including burst pipes, internal electrics, your central heating, and routine repairs too.

Home Membership

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AA Home Insurance

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