FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Your Complete FAQ Guide to Water Leak Questions
We’ve collated these FAQs for you to answer the most commonly asked questions people have about water leak detection, and Water Leaks in general – we think you will find this list of FAQs a useful resource!
How can you find a Water Leak?
There are three key things to finding a water leak – (1) professional leak detection equipment (2) a thorough and methodical method to find a leak – looking for evidence and manifestations and (3) Importantly, the right people to do the job. A well trained, experienced and friendly team. We have a more detailed guide on finding water leaks and a simpler one on the different types of leak detection.
What do you do if you have a Water Leak?
First of all – do not ignore it. Leaving a water leak is a very risky thing to do. Not only can a water leak cost you money, it can damage your property and even cause health risks – directly (for example if it is near electrics or affects structure safety) and indirectly through secondary damage – e.g. mould which can affect your health. So get professional help with your water leak, contact us today!
What can water leaks cause?
Water leaks, if left unattended can cause lots of potential health risks (slips, electrical faults / shocks, mould damage etc) but also structural risks (property damage, damp on walls / rot etc). In order to reduce the risk from a water leak, get professional help ASAP. We have a post on health and safety and 5 steps to risk assessment.
Do leaks always get worse?
In most cases, yes. The longer you have (or leave) a water leak the more likely it is to get worse and cause more damage to your property. It can also end up costing you more, especially if you are on a water meter our water leak volume and cost calculator. We also have a water volume calculator with useful information on this too. It soon adds up!
What are the signs of a Water Leak?
One of the FAQs we get asked about most! There can be many signs of a water leak, some subtle and some obvious. But these include – increased water usage / higher water bills – including your water meter constantly running, damp patches on walls or ceilings (including efflorescence), higher humidity / moisture or condensation in a property, strong odours, the sound of water running, problems with your boiler losing pressure and structural signs – spongy flooring, cracking or visible water / damp. We have a useful article about how to find a water leak under floorboards and how to spot lower water pressure with a water flow meter weir cup
Who is responsible for fixing a Water Leak?
Generally, if it is on your land it is the property owner’s responsibility. External to your property, including the water meter and water pipes on pavements and roads are usually the responsibility of your local water company. As this is a common FAQ, we have a more detailed guide to including how to report a leak. Remember, this could be paid for with trace and access cover on your insurance policy water leak cover.
Will leak detection work cause damage to my property?
Wherever possible we use non-invasive leak detection techniques to ensure we do not damage your property. However, in some instances we may have to make some small holes – for example to allow a borescope camera to see within a wall, floor (including leaks under floorboards)or ceiling void. When we find the leak, we may need to access the area in order to evaluate, identify and stop the water leak.
Do you have to turn off my water to find the leak?
It depends on where we think the water leak is, but sometimes, yes. However, we will only do this in consultation with you and keep this period of time with the water off to a minimum and only if needed.
In some instances we will not need to turn your water off at all.
Will you dry my property after a leak?
This is a service that we offer should you wish us to, we are experts in water damage repairs including drying properties after a leak (or an ‘escape of water’ – as insurance companies call it). If you need to deal with your insurance company to pay for this work, we can help you through that process. We deal with many of the UKs largest insurance companies on a daily basis and know what they will require. We have more information on this on our page about making water leak insurance claims.
How long will it take you to find my leak?
Honestly that’s not a straightforward FAQ as it will depend. However, in the majority of cases, this will be done within a day. Usually it takes a few hours but it depends on how hidden the leak is, the scale of it and the structure / layout of your property. We will discuss this with you as we carry out the work onsite.
Can I speak to someone about my Water Leak?
Absolutely, we offer a free consultation to discuss why you think you might have a water leak and to explain what might be required to find it. You can call us for free on 0800 46 47 999. Even if your question is covered in these FAQs, you still might want to speak to us so we’ll be glad to help. FAQs are helpful but sometimes there’s no substitute for speaking to someone and we will happily do so.
What are the main places Water Leaks occur?
Another top FAQ. Water leaks can occur in many, many different places (not all of them obvious!) and often in hidden places. However, here are a few common places – in central heating pipes, in hot and cold water feeds around your property, in supply pipes to properties, from water tanks, leaks from radiators, leaks in plumbing to sinks / baths / showers / toilet leaks, in connections to appliances (washing machines and dishwashers), in underground pipe leaks, from external water entering properties (gutters, roofs etc), from seals around baths and showers failing, in waste / sewerage pipes in properties. We also find a lot of leaks from upstairs flats (between floors). The list goes on! – for more details see our pages on common water leaks and burst pipes. Or for something more niche, our page on swimming pool leak detection.
Can you find Water Leaks in or under concrete slabs?
Yes we can. This is something that would be difficult for a regular person or a local plumber to find but our leak detection engineers have various tools to find, track and locate water leaks in concrete floors. The same goes for under tiles, in walls, in ceilings or other hidden places around your property.
Is there a tool to detect Water Leaks?
The answer to this FAQ is yes and no! There is no single magic tool that will locate water leaks, which is why it is hard for someone to find a water leak themselves. Our leak detection engineers use a large range of leak detection equipment to maximise the chances of finding a water leak at your property.
How much does water leak detection cost?
As you might expect this might vary. It is tricky to give a simple answer in an FAQ. Finding a leak in a large commercial building is different to finding a leak in a small bungalow. However, for a typical domestic property, the standard cost would in the range of £400 to £600. However, remember that if you have trace and access cover on your home insurance policy, this is very likely to be paid for by your insurance company. If you have been asked by your insurance company to find a trace and access leak detection company, get in touch with us.
What makes a leak detectable?
Water leaks leave subtle signs to make them detectable and our staff are trained to spot these signs, investigate them and focus in on where a leak is and what caused it. Some of these signs include – moisture levels (measured with a moisture meter), acoustic signs (acoustic leak detection), thermal signs (thermal imaging leak detection), odours, visual signs of a leak and indirect signs of a leak. The equipment we use is designed to spot these signs (we call them manifestations). FAQ facts!
What is tracer gas leak detection?
Tracer gas is something that is used to find certain types of water leaks, especially those that are small or hidden. And also, most commonly leaks in central heating systems. Basically, tracer gas is a safe and inert gas that is pumped into a system. Because the gas particles are small they pass through most materials allowing us to locate where the gas is leaking (and so see where the water was leaking from). A gas sniffer is used which alerts as to the presence of these gasses and helps close in on the source. See more about tracer gas leak detection.
Is a Water Leak covered on insurance?
An understandably important FAQ! Clearly you will need to check your own insurance policy but, on most occasions, standard home insurance covers you for water leaks (what insurers call ‘escape of water’) at your property. We work with a number of insurance companies to offer this service to the customer. Also, if you have trace and access cover, your insurer will likely cover the cost of finding and fixing a leak if that is required. We have a useful quick guide to water leak insurance claims too.
How can a property be dried after a water leak?
This will depend on what part of your property is damaged by the water leak and the materials involved. However, on most occasions this will be done with dehumidifiers – including desiccant dehumidifiers (to remove the moisture back to normal levels) and often air movers / fans too. In some instances, heaters are required (especially in winter). Less commonly, water pumps are required, for example in flooded houses and flooded basements. We also have a range of specialist drying equipment for water damage restoration in various structures such as floating floors etc.
Can a water leak cause mould? Are there risks?
The answer to both those FAQs is yes, water leaks can cause mould and can potentially affect your health. One of the things that mould needs to form (and spread) is moisture. So clearly if you have a water leak, it can be helping to ‘feed’ the mould with that moisture. As well as being experienced in finding water leaks, we offer mould remediation services to help manage and remove mould. More information on mould treatment, anti mould paint and risk assessment details and example risks.
Will you provide me with a water leak detection report?
Yes, we can provide you with our reports into the investigations and work we have carried out – this includes evidence we have collected along the way. This can be useful to give to your insurance company for a number of reasons, but not least because they may cover the cost for you!
Do you do Water Leak Detection on Commercial Properties?
Yes we do offer this service too, including to offices, retail / shops, restaurants, factories, hotels to name but a few! We also offer leak detection services to estate agents, property management companies and landlords. If you need commercial leak detection, contact us today to discuss your needs.
Do I need to be at the property when you do the work?
If you are unable to be onsite, that is not a problem, we can still carry out the work for you provided that we are able to access the property on the day of your appointment. When you make your booking, our team will discuss this with you and make best arrangements to suit you.
Can you find leaks in my central heating system?
Yes we can, it is a fairly common source of water leaks and a common FAQ for us! Often people spot their boiler pressure dropping or get an error message (such as an F1 boiler error, also E119 boiler error or an F22 boiler error), suggesting they may have a water leak. Call us to discuss this further, it could be a pressure relief valve problem too, linked to a combi boiler leaking water.
How soon can you come to my property?
On most occasions we will be able to attend your property within a couple of day. In fact, it is not uncommon that we can come the next day or even the same day if you contact us early. We are able to do this because Rainbow Restoration (formerly know as Rainbow International) have local branches. This means we could get to you quicker than others can.
Are you able to test water to help identify it?
Yes. Because we are experts in all aspects of property water damage, we have water testing equipment that can help identify the source of the water. For example, we test for chlorides (which are present in tap water) and nitrates (which come from ground sources) this can be a big clue in understanding where water comes from. This is not a service that all people offer, but we do.
How much water is coming from my leak?
This is a common FAQ – we have ways of measuring this for you but also, we have this handy water leak calculator which gives an indication as to the amount of water you could be losing and, if you are charged via a meter what the cost of the water lost in a leak could be. We also have an article looking at how much water certain items around the home use, such as how much water does a dishwasher use?
I am buying a property, can you check it for leaks?
If we are able to access the property (with your help) this is something we can do. We will carry out a leak detection survey, using a number of techniques to look for the tell-tale signs of a leak.
My water meter is moving constantly, do I have a leak?
Assuming that there is not a fault with your water meter reading, or that you do not share your water meter with other properties (this does happen!). You may have a water leak, assuming that there is nothing running in your property that would be drawing water. We have ways to check this for you too.
My question is not in FAQs, what do I do?
Feel free to get in touch with us if you cannot see your questions in the FAQs. We have tried to cover off most of the questions we are asked in these FAQs but, if you cannot see your question, get in touch. If there is something you think we should include in these FAQs, feel free to suggest it.
How do you Detect Water Pipes?
There are many methods we use to detect water pipes, even in hidden places. We have a page all about pipe detectors, how they are used and what other tools can be used to locate pipes. Our leak detection specialists have various methods to find pipes and many of them compliment each other.
Do you Spell it Mould or Mold?
We look into the whole Mould or Mold question and the answer is simple, with an explanation as to the differences, we also look into what mould is, the health risks from mould and how it is treated and prevented. You might be surprised about the question of whether bleach is the best treatment for mould? (it isn’t, far from it!). We also have an article about preventing mould on walls and, related to that, anti mould paint. Be careful not to get efflorescence mixed up with mould, they are different things but can look similar.
How can you tell what type of water is leaking?
We use various methods to help tell the type of water which is leaking, one of which is a salts analysis test which tells you if there are nitrates or chlorides in water – this can help identify the source of a water leak. When doing these tests, we use pure water so as not to contaminate or skew the results.
What should I do if I have a leak?
We spoke to Leak Detection Expert John Luscombe at Rainbow Restoration, he gave his advice on what do do if you have a water leak, including when and how to involve your insurance company too.
Where are Water Leak in Houses?
Can you buy Smart Home Water Leak Alarms?
Yes you can, there are a growing range of different water leak alarms and sensors, some of which are stand-alone devices, others are part of a smart home family (such as Hive) which may require a hub. We have written a full guide to water leak alarms which is well worth a read.
Do you offer other services?
Yes we do, we have a guide to water damage repair services which highlights a number of additional services that we offer which can be useful if you have had a water leak at your property.
How can I stop condensation on windows?
Luckily we have a full guide on how to stop condensation on windows, it includes 20 tips to help prevent condensation on windows (or other surfaces). If you want to understand how to stop condensation in your loft we have a separate guide for that too. And another guide to condensation on pipes (aka ‘sweating pipes’) and for condensation in bathrooms we also did an experiment on bath vs shower condensation and an amazing test where we helped to stop condensation whilst having a bath, reducing steam / humidity by 45%!
Does Anti Mould and Anti Condensation Paint Work?
We have written a detailed article doing a deeper dive into anti mould paint (which covers anti condensation paint too) and we explain how it is meant to work and importantly, what our thoughts on it are. Remember that mould is often caused by excessive condensation so before you you look into that option, read our article on how to stop condensation and also our guide to cold spots – both have many useful tips!
What is the difference between Rising Damp and Penetrating damp?
This is a very common question and, although they have similarities (and can happen together) they are generally considered as different problems. We have written a guide to damp problems, especially damp on walls which explains this further. Alongside that, we have done a detailed article on penetrating damp, damp causes and damp surveys.
Do you offer Storm Damage Repairs?
Can Air Bricks Cause Damp?
Generally not, except in unusual circumstances. In fact, air bricks are there to provide improved ventilation and prevent damp to (typically) wooden timbers in a property such as floor joists and floorboards. Read more about this in our guide to air bricks.
How much does Water Weigh?
We look into the whole subject on the size, volume and weight of water (for things such as water tanks, pools and ponds) in our water volume calculator, which can tell some interesting facts about the weight of water.
How can you prevent Water Leaks?
There are several things you can do to help prevent water leaks in including using good quality workmen when doing plumbing work, and using good materials. Having regular inspections of things, especially central heating boilers. Keeping an eye out for signs of a water leak, using water leak alarms and more. We discuss this in more detail in our article about preventing water leaks.
What are the 4 main causes of Damp?
Although there are many possible causes of damp, there are 4 mains ones which we have written about in more detail in our article about different types of damp most commonly found in homes and businesses in the UK. Which one you have (and it can be more than one) can be identified with our services.
We cover other specific FAQs and water leak advice in some of our articles and blogs which