It’s easy to take your water supply for granted, but a plumbing emergency can cause real damage to your home. So it’s important to know what to do if you have a leaking or burst pipe.

You'll find information below on what to do in an emergency. We'll also explain what can cause burst pipes and how to spot a leak.

What to do in an emergency

If you suspect a water leak, you should contact a professional plumber as soon as possible. Don’t delay – ignoring a leak can lead to more damage to your property.

If you have a leaking or burst pipe in your home, you should turn off your water immediately. You can do this by turning the stopcock.

Stopcocks are often under the kitchen sink, but yours might be elsewhere in your home. It’s a good idea to find out where it is before you have an emergency.

What causes burst pipes and leaks?

The most common causes of burst or leaking pipes are:

  • Water pressure
    If a pipe, toilet or water pump in your home becomes clogged, it can increase the water pressure. This makes the pipes expand and crack or burst. If you think there’s a blockage anywhere in your water system, get a plumber to take a look.
  • Cold
    When pipes freeze, the water in them expands. This can lead to cracks or bursts in your pipework.

How to spot a leak?

Leaking pipes aren’t always obvious. But a leak can cause unseen damage and increase your bills.

Don’t worry though – there are some simple things you can do to keep an eye out for a leak:

  • Take regular meter readings. This makes it easier to spot an increase in your usage, which might be down to a leak.
  • Look out for lower water pressure or flow from your taps.
  • Take note of waterlogged areas in your garden. These could be a sign of a leak.
  • Get a plumber to check any noisy pipework, as it could mean there's a leak.

If you notice any of these things on your property and suspect a leak, you should get help or advice from a plumber.