How to avoid water leaks

Even the smallest leaks can do a lot of damage over time. But there are a few simple things you can do to help prevent water damage in your home. It’s also worth getting familiar with your home insurance policy — if you know your living space and the important things inside it are covered, you may rest a little easier.


How to check for water leaks inside the home

Here are some things you can do to check for water leaks inside your home and prevent further damage from occurring.

Check the condition of your plumbing regularly

Inspect all tap fittings inside your home, and visible pipes, like those under the sink. If you see any signs of water leakage, or hissing noises which can also indicate leaks, contact a licensed plumber to take a closer look.

Look for visible water damage

Run your eyes over all ceilings, walls and floors for any signs of leakage. You can spot water damage on ceilings and other surfaces as it usually takes the form of brown or rusty-looking stains. If left untended, these could cause serious damage.

Inspect flexi hoses

Flexi hoses are a common way of connecting appliances, sinks and toilets to your water mains. They’re also a major cause of household water leaks, usually resulting from wear and tear or improper installation. Make sure you inspect them regularly, and if you’re unsure how often you need these replaced, ask a licensed plumber.

Clean your air conditioner

Dirty air conditioner filters can stop the flow of air and freeze, leaving the ice that has formed to melt and leak. To avoid this, split system air conditioners should be cleaned every few months.

Check your water meter

You can also identify leaks using your water meter. Turn off all taps and water-using fixtures in your home, including dishwashers and washing machines, and write down the numbers from the black and red dials on the meter. Wait at least one hour and check the numbers again. If they’ve changed, you may have a leak. You can also check using this handy tool.

Turn off your water mains when you go on holiday

Coming home to water damage from a leak can really dampen your post-holiday joy — especially if the water has been left to pool for a while and the damage is quite severe. Turning your water off at the mains can help prevent this.

You’ll need to access the shut-off valve, which is usually next to your water meter, or in a utility area like a basement or garage. Once you’ve located it, turn the valve clockwise until it stops.

Keep an eye on your water bill

Look out for anything unusual in your water bill, like increases or fluctuations in your usage that can’t be explained. These may help you detect potential issues.


How to avoid water leaks from outside the home

Once you’ve checked for water damage and leaks inside your home, you’ll want to make sure everything is okay outside, too.

Keep your gutters clean

Leaf litter is a common cause of blocked gutters and downpipes. If water builds up, it can damage your gutters and roof. It can even put your foundations at risk if any overflow is left unchecked. Gutters and downpipes should be cleaned regularly to remove leaves — and any other foreign objects — that could affect the flow of the water.

Maintain trees and shrubs

Trees and shrubs can do more damage than just dropping leaves into your gutters and downpipes. Roots can grow around, and sometimes into, your pipes. This can cause breakages and blockages, potentially leading to leaks. If you can, try to avoid planting around utility pipes. If the planting is already done, consult with a plumber to see if you need to have anything removed.

Get your roof checked

Roof maintenance is key to ensuring water stays out of your home. Overgrown moss, built-up debris and damage from fallen branches can cause damage to your roof, potentially causing leaks. If your roof needs tending to, it may be safer to leave this job to a professional, especially if it does happen to be covered in wet leaves or moss.


Make sure you’re covered

If a leak occurs, having the right home and contents insurance may help you repair or replace things affected by water damage. GIO Home and Contents Insurance combines Home Building Insurance with Contents Insurance so you can cover your house and the important items within it.

We can also help you with the cost of locating leaks (if the leaks are covered by your policy), and with Optional GIO Home Assist you can receive assistance from a plumber in the case of an emergency.^

Don’t forget, it’s up to you to maintain the condition of your appliances and plumbing.  We don't cover wear, tear and gradual deterioration or loss or damage as a result of a gradual process of liquid leaking, splashing, dripping or overflowing.

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^ Limits and exclusions apply, please refer to the PDS and read the GIO Home Assist T&Cs for more information.

Insurance issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as GIO. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance. The Target Market Determination is also available. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.