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Should you turn off the water supply if you go on holiday?

Should you turn off the water supply if you go on holiday?

Nobody wants to come back to flood damage when they’ve been on holiday. Whether you’re going away for a couple of weeks or taking a short weekend break, you’ll want to make sure your home is safe from leaks and burst pipes while you’re gone.

So, should you turn your water supply off if you go on holiday? Let’s find out.

Peter Earl
From the Energy team
minute read
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Posted 6 FEBRUARY 2020

The risks of leaving your water on while you’re on holiday

Water can cause a lot of damage. Not to mention that a leak or burst pipe could significantly bump up your water bill, and your insurance premium if you make a claim.

Even the smallest leak can become a torrent of water if a pipe bursts. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), home insurance providers pay out around £1.8 million every day in ‘escape of water’ claims.

Burst pipes aren’t just a winter problem either. Although most pipe-based claims are the result of a frozen pipe, costing an average of £8,800 per claim, burst pipes can happen at any time of the year, from:

  • poorly connected dishwashers and washing machines
  • bath, shower or toilet leakages
  • storage tanks in the loft.

And according to the ABI, the risk of water damage in our homes is higher than ever before, due to:

  • more plumbed-in domestic appliances
  • more central heating
  • an increase in en-suite bathrooms and more toilets in our homes
  • complex plumbing systems
  • use of less water (and damage) resistant materials, such as chipboard

A plumbing emergency is a nightmare at the best of times, but if you’re not at home to stop things escalating it can become a real catastrophe.

What to do if you’re going on holiday

  • Turn off the water supply

The safest thing to do before you go away is to turn off the water supply completely. It might not stop water that’s already in the pipes from escaping, but it will limit the risk of a flooded home.

According to the AA, even though water leaks are the most common domestic disaster for returning holidaymakers, only 18% turn off the stopcock before going away.

It’s easy to do. You can turn off the incoming water supply by turning the stopcock valve to the closed position – usually clockwise. Your stopcock is usually found under the kitchen sink, but it might also be located in an airing cupboard or in the hallway, under the stairs.

  • Turn off appliances

Turn off any appliances that use water, such as the washing machine and dishwasher.

  • Leave the heating on if you’re going away in the winter

Although turning your heating off while you’re away will keep your energy bills down, it’s perhaps not worth the risk during cold snaps.

Pipes exposed to sub-zero temperatures are at greater risk of bursting, if they freeze. So set the heating to come on at regular intervals with a timer. The thermostat should be set to at least 13oC (55oF) so the water in the pipes won’t get cold enough to freeze.

Any other money-saving tips?

Turning your water off means you can enjoy your holiday with the peace of mind that your home is safe from any water-based disasters. And it could, ultimately, save you from an expensive home insurance claim and the resulting higher premium.

One of the easiest ways to see if you could save is by comparing energy tariffs with Compare the Market. Just give us a few details about yourself, and we’ll do everything else.

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