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How to find and fix leaks in your house

Water is precious. That’s why we want to help you find and fix any leaks in your own pipework so, together, we can make sure we don’t waste water.

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Who is responsible for water leaks on your property?

This guide will help provide a better idea of where your pipes and water meter are located, as well as who is responsible for fixing a water leak outside your house.

We own and maintain the water mains which carry water to homes and businesses. Your home is linked to the water main by a service pipe. If the water leak is outside of your house's boundary, we'll be responsible for repairing it.

Even if the problem is your responsibility to fix, we want to help. If you report a suspected leak to us, we can provide a free leak detection service for up to one hour. This service will be able to help find burst water pipes, broken pipes or other leaks outside your house, though we can't guarantee that we'll always be able to find the source of the problem.

Further guidance on leaks

Here you can find more advice and guidance for dealing with leaks.

Firstly, you should turn off your stop tap and open all taps to drain the system quickly. If it's a burst pipe, turn off your boiler as well. Use towels to soak up or block off any escaping water.

If the leak or bust pipe is close to any electrical fittings, switch them off at the mains.

Contact an approved plumber as soon as possible and turn off the taps once the pipework is repaired to avoid further flooding.

If the flooding has caused damage to your property, we advise you to contact your insurance company as well.

Most meters are found in the public footpath outside your house or in your front garden. They are located in an underground box which is usually under a metal or plastic cover.

Sometimes it will be covered with a large cast iron cover, which you should not lift. Occasionally meters are located inside the house next to the stop tap, which is often under the kitchen sink.

We will offer assistance for customers who are on our social tariffs, on our Priority Services Register or on certain means-tested benefits. The exact help will be determined by the length and position of the supply pipe, please call us on 0330 303 0277.

We recommend you contact a reputable plumber or ground worker to make repairs. Using a WRAS-approved plumber means you can be assured of a standard of workmanship and materials.

If you decide to undertake repairs yourself we can offer advice on types of fittings and where to source them.

Learn more about installing new plumbing systems

If you're paying metered charges, we'll correct both water supply and wastewater charges to reflect the extra amount of water recorded because of the leak, once it has been repaired.

We normally re-calculate your metered charges based on your past water use. Where there is no record of your previous water use, we'll base the adjustment on the average use of a property of a similar type.

For metered customers, we'll adjust charges back to the previous bill.

For customers who have not previously received a bill then the re-calculated charges will be back-dated to the beginning of the financial year.

There'll be no correction of charges if any of the following applies:

  • Another leak occurs after a correction for an earlier leak
  • You (or someone else living with you) caused the leak by acting negligently
  • You knew, or could reasonably be expected to have known, that there was a leak and you failed to repair it or tell us about it
  • The leak occurred because of faulty pipes or fittings inside your home
  • You did not repair the leak within a reasonable period.

Notification of adjustment

If we can, we will tell you what the adjustment is over the phone. However, we will also send you a letter confirming that we've adjusted your bill within a week of us taking the second reading from you.

Please note that we cannot give leak allowances if the leak was because of a faulty pipe or fitting inside your home.

If you've had a leak that has been repaired, we may be able to give you a leak allowance.

If another water company supplies your water, they will provide consumption and allowance details to us and we will mirror their allowance. This can take up to two months.

Please take a meter reading immediately after the repair is fixed. Your contractor can do this for you. We need the reading to process any leak allowances.

Two weeks after your repair has been fixed please read the meter again. We'll contact you for this reading which helps us to compare your normal consumption with that during the leak.

Notification of adjustment

If we can, we'll tell you what the adjustment is over the phone. However, we'll also send you a letter confirming that we've adjusted your bill within a week of us taking the second reading from you.

Please note that we can't give leak allowances if the leak was because of a faulty pipe or fitting inside your home.

A dripping tap can waste a lot of water – up to 10,000 litres per year. That’s more than a full bathtub each week. Yet most dripping taps just need a new washer, which can be simple to fix.

Fix your dripping tap:

  1. Turn off the mains water supply at the stop tap.
  2. Turn the dripping tap on full.
  3. Unscrew the cover and loosen the hexagon using a spanner.
  4. Remove the whole tap top.
  5. Lift out the jumper plate and use pliers to unscrew the nut. Remove the old washer.
  6. Fit the new washer.
  7. Re-assemble the tap.
  8. Turn the water on again.

Need a plumber?

If you're having trouble fixing your tap – or have a bigger task at hand – you may want the help of a reputable plumber. Make sure to hire a trusted plumber who is qualified to meet the regulations for working safely with drinking water.

Find an approved plumber

Push-button toilets commonly have undetected leaks. A leaky loo can waste up to 400 litres of water a day, which could increase your bills – so it can pay to know if your loo is leaking.

A higher-than-expected bill is often the first sign you’re using more water than normal. And while there may be an obvious reason for the increase, such as recent building work at home or a new addition to the family, it could also signal a leak in your loo.

How to check if you have a leaky loo:

Wait 15 minutes after the last toilet flush, then dry the back of the toilet pan with toilet tissue. Place a dry sheet of toilet tissue at the back of the pan.

Wash your hands and leave for three hours, if possible, without using the toilet. When you return, check the condition of the tissue:

  • If the toilet tissue stays dry – good news, you don’t have a leak.
  • If the toilet tissue is a little crooked or wet – you may have a small leak. Use this process regularly to check that it is not getting any worse (and costing you more money).
  • If the toilet tissue has broken up and has moved in the water below – the leak is significant and you'll need to get this fixed by a plumber.

Find an approved plumber

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