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Suspect a leak?… here’s what to do next!

January 23rd, 2020

All posts, Damp / Rising Damp / Damp Proofing /, Flood Restoration & Drying, Surveying, Water Damage


Loosing pressure in your heating system, cold radiators, extortionate water bill’s or instant symptoms of damp? The chances are you have a leak!….

So, what to do next?……………………………………

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Firstly, it’s always a good idea to contact your home insurers. Some home insurance policies cover what’s known as “Trace and Locate” or “Trace and Access” inspections. These are basically investigations to find your leak. You may have to pay the excess on your policy however, generally these will be less than the cost of the inspection.

The average cost of a trace and locate inspection does vary from company to company based on what methods they use to find your leak however; most are charged between £250 – £500.00.

So, what does a ‘Trace and Locate’ inspection cover?

Burst pipe located within a floor screed

The purpose of a trace and locate inspection is to identify the location of the leak / escape of water. Within every home there are multiple services which could result in a damaging escape of water which vary from pressurised heating systems to mains incoming water services.

The trace and locate inspection will cover the cost of identifying the location of the leak and often exposure of the leak itself. Most inspections though will not cover the cost of repairing the leak. The repair can normally be arranged however, this cost is often separate and additional to the original trace and locate contract.

Heating pipe perforated by a floor nail

Your home insurance policy may cover the expense of your trace and locate inspection however, normally they are unlikely to cover the cost repairing the incident itself such as the burst / faulty pipe etc.

When a leak occurs through a defective water service this can often have immediate or sometimes long term damaging effect. An escape of water can quickly cause dampness within walls, decay to timber, corrosion of pipework, electrical faults and erosion of ground soils. As such, if you suspect an escape of water is occurring it’s best not to ignore it.

Collapse of a kitchen ceiling due to an extensive escape of water event.

If you’ve made a claim on your home insurance policy, whilst repair of the offending cause may not be covered (repairing the leak itself) damage which occurs as a result of the leak will often be covered. This usually extends from locating the leak to any restoration works required afterwards. This will normally include drying of any affected parts of the structure and repair where necessary or replacement where affected materials are beyond economical repair, basically returning the building to its dry, pre-loss condition. Obviously, insurance policies do vary depending upon the level of cover you have therefore it’s best to check however, this is standard if you have incidental water damage cover. 

When might you not be covered by your insurers?

Poorly serviced / maintained hot water cylinder

Over the years we’ve seen water damage claims dismissed for many reasons, which are typically expressed in writing within the small print that no-one ever reads. Water damage / leaks occurring as a result of vermin damage, mice or rats chewing through your services, escape of water events in long term unoccupied properties that have not been notified and also landlords who fail to keep an up to date service register of hot water cylinders.

So if you have rodents, you’re taking a long term vacation or you’re a landlord with a property incorporating a hot water cylinder, it might be worth while digging out your insurance policy and making sure you have full water damage cover which includes trace and locate just in-case you ever need it.

Not all insurance policies will cover trace and locate inspections. Don’t worry however that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not insured, it just means you’ve got to prove you have a problem before your insurers will take responsibility. This may mean that you must fund the expense of the inspection yourselves however, this is often recoverable in the event that you a valid claim.

Home insurance and water damage cover, read the T & C’s, make sure you’re covered and pay attention to the policy excess and small print.

Many thanks for reading and I hope you found this article useful and informative.

If you would like to learn more about, water damage, moisture mapping or damp diagnosis you may find the following articles useful:

Moisture Mapping – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/moisture-mapping-ideal-article-damp-specialists-water-russell-rafton-/

Moisture Content Analysis – https://www.dryfix.net/blog/explained-moisture-content-analysis-using-the-gravimetric-process/

Calcium carbide Meters Explained – https://www.dryfix.net/blog/damp-diagnosis-calcium-carbide-meter-speedy-meter/

Industry Perception Study – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/industry-perception-study-russell-rafton-/

Russell Rafton – Dryfix Preservation Ltd Senior Surveyor

Dryfix, Yorkshires Leading Damp & Timber Specialists. 

4 x Award winning Company with the Property Care Association.

Full members of the Property Care Association



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