If You’re Protecting Your Home From Burglary and Fire, Why Aren’t You Protecting It From Water Too?

Internal water damage to homes has risen by 72% in property-related home insurance claims over the past 5 years.

As a homeowner, internal flooding is the last thing you’d expect to claim on. Often more focus is put towards protecting your home from other events like theft or fire.

Security to your property is, no doubt, important for you and your family.  It’s not unusual to be proactive in protecting your home from thieves by installing locks, security screens, alarm and security systems.

You’re also probably diligent in checking your smoke alarms on the 1st day of April each year. It’s the day the nation changes the batteries to their smoke alarms to ensure it works in an emergency. (It can also turn on depending on who’s cooking!)  

But how vigilant are you protecting your home from internal water damage? How often do you inspect the water pipes in your home?

If you have concealed the water pipes for your appliances behind cabinetry, you probably never check the pipes for leaks or fraying, and yet this could be the unexpected insurance claim you make before theft or fire.

Internal water damage to your property is costly and inconvenient. Soaked carpets, warped cabinetry, soggy plasterboard and even damage to any electrical appliances you own… the cost to your claim can add up. And while it is currently claimable on insurance, it will still incur an unexpected excess fee and a possible increase in premium the following year. Let alone the time to meet tradespeople on site to get the damage replaced.

So how can you protect your home from internal water damage?

  1. Check your flexi hoses. And check them again. Every time you get your water bill, make this a reminder to check the flexi hoses around your property. Older style rubber flexi hoses should be changed every 5 years.
  2. Ensure stop taps are installed on all water feeds to isolate water at the appliance/fixture.
  3. Organise a plumbing inspection and replacement of old flexi hoses. This is a callout we are happy to do and encourage you to do so if you’re not sure on the age of your flexi hoses.
  4. Ensure your washing machine, dishwasher and water dispensing appliances (like a fridge or Zip Hydrotap) have flood stop valves so the water is shut off if the hose bursts.
  5. Have floor wastes in your bathroom if you’re building or renovating a bathroom.
  6. Install your hot water unit outside, not internally.
  7. When you notice a leak, get it fixed as soon as you can.

If you’re proactive with these steps, your house is better protected against internal water damage. 

What Causes Leaking Pipes

leaky pipe

Leaky pipes are a real worry for homeowners. From mysterious drips to puddles forming in the front yard, most homeowners will encounter a leaky pipe at least once in their lifetime.

The biggest issue with water leaks is being able to find where they started in the first place. This can be tricky when pipework is concealed. Fortunately, an experienced plumber will easily be able to detect this.

There are a lot of reasons why a pipe may begin to leak, such as:

Extremely high water pressure 

  • Some locations can have water pressure higher than 1000kpa – this should be reduced at the entry to the property with a Pressure Limiting Valve. 300-500kpa is a normal pressure range.
  • A pipe under stress from high water pressure for a sustained period of time is prone to leakage.

Cracks

  • If you live in an older property, then your pipes may be cracked simply because they are old and have been exposed to minor movement over many years. Depending on the type of pipes on your property, many will need to be replaced when they are around 50 years old.

Corrosion

  • Corroded pipes are also prone to leakage. Apart from age, pipes may corrode due to pH levels, water temperature, velocity, and oxygen content.

Clogged Drains: 

  • A build up of hair, grease, debris or objects in your drainage pipes can cause your pipe to block. It’s also not uncommon for small objects to become accidentally flushed down the drain and become lodged in your pipes.  These small blockages in turn can cause back-ups. Back-ups increase the pressure in your drainage pipes and these can eventually lead to water leaks that can be difficult to locate, particularly if they are underground. A sign of a blockage is that your drains start to take longer than normal to clear. 
  •  In this situation, it is best not to use chemical drain cleaners. While they may help clear the blockage, they can also eat away at the pipe causing corrosion and therefore in the long run be a more expensive fix.

Renovations

  • If you have been doing a bit of home renovations and screwing nails into the wall, it can be easy to inadvertently hit a water pipe and cause a water leak.  While most homeowners don’t know exactly where the pipework is in there home, if you are renovating and have a few unplastered walls, it’s a good idea to take photos of the pipework so you know what areas to avoid if you want to hang shelves, cabinets or even pictures.

Bad workmanship

  • While this is less common, hiring an unqualified plumber or doing the job yourself might also inadvertently cause a water leak. In this instance, it is normally that the joints are not tight enough or done correctly. Perhaps the wrong material has been used.  While it’s tempting to try and do the work yourself, it is best to use a licensed plumber.  

Tree Roots 

  • Not all leaks start inside the building. Some, like tree roots protruding into pipework, start outside. The root system of some trees are very deep and spread as far as the width of the tree. If you have trees close to your home, it’s possible that a tree root may make its way into the drainage pipe and cause a water leak. 

Broken Seals

  • Seals are placed on appliances that are connected to water to create a watertight connection. When appliances, like a dishwasher, age the seal can break down or degrade over time. A sure sign of this is when you notice a puddle of water near your appliance. It could be a sure sign that you have a broken seal. 

While it might be tempting to fix this yourself, its best left to a professional.

We have a standardised leak detection service and are available 24/7.

If you have a plumbing problem, don’t hesitate to give our professionals at Salmon Plumbing in Brisbane a call. Our experienced team of plumbers are qualified to take on any commercial and residential plumbing issue, including leaky pipes, burst pipes, roof leaks, and other emergencies.

We invite you to contact us online or give us a call on (07) 3862 2600.

Detecting Leaks – Where They’re Most Likely and How to Find Them

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Leakage Of Water From Stainless Steel Pipe On Gray Background

The sound of water can be incredibly soothing: think of the rolling sound of waves or the gentle tap of rain on the roof. But as a home or business owner, the steady drip-drip-drip of a tap or pipe inside the wall is not only really annoying; it can be a warning sign that your home or office is at risk of serious water damage.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with a quick reference list about how to detect leaks that you suspect are there but can’t hear or see.

Drain Leaks

Drain leaks can be really bad news, especially if the leak is occurring on a floor other than the ground floor and there is a ceiling of another room below. Drain leaks occur when water that is in a wet area like a shower or bathtub does not all exit through the drain. Instead, the water escapes through joints in the drain as well.

This problem is especially common where there is a fibreglass bathtub or shower flooring. Unlike tiles and grout, fibreglass flexes and warps a little bit each time that weight is placed on it. That means that after years of normal use, the tight seal around the drain hole weakens and water might find its way through. It is also possible over long periods of time that slight movement of pipework can cause loosening of pipework and fittings causing water leaks that can not always be seen.  A steady, continual leak underneath a bathtub or shower will slowly ruin the floor under the bathroom or the ceiling of the room below.

There’s a simple way to test whether your drain has a minor leak. The first is filling the tub or shower area with water and observing for warping/leaks from the floor below. Water stains and discolouration are also tell-tale signs. The other tactic to use is to fill the area with water then mark the level of the water on the wall. Check back after a short period. If the level has gone down, then it’s likely you’ve got a drain leak.

Tile Leaks

Whether it’s a laundry, shower or bathroom, tile leaks are sneaky, hard to find and can cause serious damage to the wall behind it. Gaps in tiles caused by loose tiles or cracked grout, even if they aren’t regularly covered in water, can be a huge headache. That’s because while water won’t leak, steam and moisture will get behind the tile and between it and the wall. This can lead to the wall rotting from the inside out.

Signs to watch out for are peeling paint, tiny cracks in the grout next to tiles, and mould that grows back regularly because it has a warm damp home behind the cracked tile to grow in.

Toilet Leaks

Few things are as concerning as a leaking toilet, but there are some simple things to be on the lookout for to make sure you can get things fixed before it leaks all over the bathroom area. The first thing to watch for is a toilet that rocks or “gives” a bit when it’s pushed or when the flush button is pushed. Minor leaks around the toilet are also obvious causes for concern, as is the appearance of the water pooling more on one side of the bowl of the toilet than the other.

No matter where your leak or suspected leak is, a professionally qualified plumber can take a look for you, point out where you might have problems, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in repair costs by getting on top of a problem early. Our friendly, experienced team of professionals at Salmon Plumbing in Brisbane are ready and available to do this for you today, so give us a call to set an appointment.