18 million could be living with a water leak at home

By Bea Patel, TLE Property Editor and Director of Shop for an Agent

18 million people could currently be living with leaks at home.

A study by HomeServe Labs revealed that 19.1 per cent of UK adults currently have a dripping tap at home, and 8.5 per cent are stuck with leaky toilets.

The research also revealed 76.9 per cent have experienced a leak at home before. 37 per cent currently report having a leak at home, which rises to 51 per cent in Newcastle, followed by 45 per cent in Southampton and 43 per cent in London.

Those without home insurance have to pay an average of £209.42 to fix leaks at home, and 6 per cent paid over £500. But the cost to homes can be much more, as homeowners who have tried to sell a property after a leak have reported it impacted the value of their property by £5,831 (for a property valued at £209,000). This rises to £15,510 in the capital (for a property valued at £470,000).

One in four adults were not aware of the leak before it became a problem, and 10.2 per cent were aware but ‘didn’t realise the impact it would have’.

Water leaks in UK homes

Top ‘leakiest’ cities (based on the percentage of people reporting having a leak at home) Driest cities (based on the percentage of people reporting having a leak at home)
1. Newcastle (51 per cent) 1. Sheffield (27 per cent)
2. Southampton (45 per cent) 2. Brighton & Hove (28 per cent)
3. London (43 per cent) 3. Leicester (30 per cent)
4. = Bristol (42 per cent)
4. = Belfast (42 per cent)
4. Chelmsford (31 per cent)
5. Plymouth (40 per cent) 5. Cambridge (32 per cent)

Source: OnePoll data commissioned by HomeServe Labs

Current water leaks

Types of water leaks people currently have at home
1. A dripping tap (19.1 per cent)
2. A leaky toilet (8.5 per cent)
3. Leaking radiator (6.1 per cent)
4. Leak from under the bath (5.7 per cent)
5. Leak from under the kitchen sink (4.8 per cent)
6. Leak from under the bathroom sink (3.9 per cent)
7. Leaking boiler (3.3 per cent)
8. I have a leak but don’t know where it is coming from (2.6 per cent)
9. Burst pipe (2.2 per cent)
10. Stopcock leak (2 per cent)

Source: OnePoll data commissioned by HomeServe Labs

Craig Foster, managing director of HomeServe Labs, comments: “Water damage claims cost the UK £629 million in 2014, and water leaks rank second for home insurance claims. What often starts off as a small issue, like a leaking tap or pipe, can quickly turn into a big problem, causing damp around the home or even flooding and damage to personal possessions. That’s why we decided to develop the LeakBot – to help give people peace of mind through a device which runs silently in the background, monitoring the pipes in your home to ensure that everything flows as it should. That way, if a problem arises you’ll be able to nip it in the bud and prevent it from getting any worse.”

Of people who have experienced leaks in their home before, 13.2 per cent say that the leak originated from the toilet, 12.2 per cent from a tap, 11.8 per cent from a shower and 11.4 per cent from the bathtub.

The research, which polled 2,000 people across the UK also revealed that 18-24 year olds are most at risk of water leaks, as 46 per cent report a leak at home, and 24.5 per cent have a dripping tap. 24-34 year olds also need to watch their sewage systems, as 12.2 per cent report having a leaky toilet.

If people are faced with a water leak, the research revealed that many don’t know how to stop the problem from becoming worse. While 2.2 per cent currently have a burst pipe at home, almost 24 per cent either don’t know what a stopcock is, or where it can be located, to quickly switch off the main water supply to their home.

Out of 18-24 year olds, 40.8 per cent don’t know what a stopcock is. In the age bracket of 25-34 year olds, 89.2 per cent did know what a stopcock is, but 29.7 per cent of them have no idea where it is located.

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