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Our partners, Woodgate Clark, offer some advice on how to protect a home from the damage that water can do.

“Now that winter is here it is the time to think about minimising the potential risks that can cause water damage to your home. As loss adjusters we have first hand experience of the devastation that can be caused by water which turns up in places where it is not welcome.

“Thoughts only have to turn to how far liquid from an overturned cup can travel to realise that water escaping under pressure from a burst pipe or fitting can quickly make your home feel like it has been inundated by a very large and unwelcome shower. So what can be done to prevent such incidents and stop yourself becoming a victim of water damage? Well nothing is infallible but some sensible precautions go a long way. First of all, and this is really important, locate your mains water stop tap. It maybe located inside or outside your property, but wherever it is find it and familiarise yourself in the simple art of turning it off. It may not completely stop any unwanted flow of water but it will certainly help. Your water utility company is likely to have helpful advice and videos on their websites about how to locate the stop tap together with advice about how to ensure that water pipes are properly lagged including those outside that you find so useful in the summer months for watering the garden.

“In recent years there have been many technological advances and the water industry has not been slow in taking these up. Leak detection devices can be bought from DIY stores and are relatively easy to install (although it is always good advice to seek professional assistance). An insurance industry approved device can be installed by a company trading as LeakSafe whose products are appropriate for mains, gravity, and pressurized water systems. The product allows for water to be automatically shut off as soon as a leak is detected and also allows wireless control.

“If you are going to be away from your home on holiday, ensure that your central heating is left on a timer during the coldest times of the day or night or consider draining down your system and shutting the water off. Burst pipes occur when water in pipes freezes and expands causing pipes to split or damage to taps, so removing the water prevents such an occurrence. And remember that as with many aspects of daily life, common sense is the main requirement when seeking to prevent issues involving the presence of unwanted water.”