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You are here : At Home > My Water > Leaks



This guide will help you if a leak has been identified in or around your home, and let you know what help we offer.

Take a look at our booklet (PDF 1.07MB).




How do I check for a leak?

If you have a water meter we aim to take a reading every six months and will notify you in writing if we suspect a leak. However, you can conduct an initial check if you suspect that you have a leak.

  1. Turn all your taps off
  2. Listen to your supply pipe. If you can hear water flowing, this may indicate a leak.

 Other indications can be:

  • Reduced water pressure coming out of your kitchen tap
  • An unusually lush and possibly long patch of grass in your front garden when the rest of the lawn is dry
  • A patch of water on your tarmac, particularly on a dry day
  • An unusually high water meter reading. If you see what you think may be a leaking pipe on your property or anywhere else, please call our Leak Spotters Line immediately

If you prefer we can visit your property to confirm if there is a leak on your supply, but we can not help detect the exact location of a leak. Please contact us on 0345 357 2407.

Watch our video to see how to check for a leak
  • What do I do if I discover a leak in my home?

    Firstly check with your home insurers to see if you are covered for the leak.

    If you need to contact a plumber to carry out works on leaks within your home, we recommend you visit the Watersafe Website to find a list of Industry Approved Plumbers within your area. 

    If you need a groundworks plumber to deal with leaks on your supply pipe, in the advanced options select Underground pipework and moling.

    Alternatively, you could contact HomeServe to discuss their On Demand Cover option on 0800 0327593.

  • Who is responsible for the leak?

    The home owner is responsible for the water pipes in the home as well as the drainage and supply pipes within the property boundary. If your property has an individual supply pipe, you (or your landlord) are responsible for maintaining and repairing it. If you and your neighbours share a supply pipe then you are all jointly responsible.

    If you are not sure where your responsibility lies if you have a leak, please see the examples below.

    An individual supply pipe


    Only A is responsible for the leak


    Both A and B are responsible for the leak


    All three are responsible for the leak


  • Repairing your leak

    Frequently asked questions

    Am I entitled to a free supply pipe repair under the Leak Repair Scheme?

    On our first visit we will make an assessment and decide if we can offer a free repair. If we find out from the assessment that there is a good chance of locating the pipe at the point where the leak is visible, we will dig down and try to find the leak and if possible we will try to repair it. In some cases this may only be temporary for example the pipe may already be in poor condition and the whole pipe should be replaced. A repair will only be effective if the leak is small, visible and the pipe is in good condition.

    You are usually entitled to only one free repair, and the decision to repair the leak is at our discretion and we do not guarantee to repair a leak on your supply pipe. 

    If we try to dig and find we cannot locate the pipe or it is obstructed we have to abandon the work, make it safe and re-fill the hole unless you request otherwise. Then we will advise you on what to do next.

    The level of reinstatement following completion of the works will depend on the material excavated, for example:

    • Where we have carried out works in your garden or in soft ground, we will reinstate the soil only and you will need to carry out any replanting yourself

    • If we have removed paving slabs, bricks, shingle or chippings, we will put back what we removed

    • Any hard surface that has been excavated will be reinstated with black tarmac or concrete

    • You will need to arrange for any special finishes to be reinstated at your expense.

    Reinstatement may occur anytime within a two-week period following completion of the works. This is because weather conditions can affect the excavated material, which will impact on the standard of the reinstatement. We will always leave the site safe and tidy and will clear everything away once the reinstatement has been completed.


    Should I repair or replace my supply pipe?

    If the leak is serious or your supply pipe is old and in a bad condition, you’ll need to decide whether to repair or replace the pipework. A repair is usually the best option if the leak is small and your supply pipe is in good condition.

    If the pipe is fairly old, it’ll probably need to be replaced – and may be eligible for a subsidy, to find out more please contact us.

    If your property is on a shared supply with your neighbours, the decision to repair or replace will need to be agreed by all the responsible parties. All parties on a shared supply are eligible for a subsidy towards replacement provided that the whole pipe is renewed.


    How do I deal with a leak if I am on a shared supply?

    We recommend you talk to your neighbours to discuss the repair at an early stage. If you are considering replacing an old supply pipe, it may be worthwhile considering having an individual supply pipe installed. In general, replacing the shared pipe will be cheaper, but there are some potential problems that you need to be aware of:

    • If the stop tap on the street needs to be closed off, all properties connected to the pipe will be without water.

    • The water use in one property may have an adverse effect on the water pressure in another property (although good design can often help to avoid this situation).

    • It is not possible to add more properties to the existing shared supply.


    Is there any help available?

    If you are on a water meter, you usually have to pay for water lost from your leaking supply pipe. However, if you’ve done everything you can to repair a leak as quickly as possible – and you notify us before you carry out the work – we may amend your bill so that you don’t have to pay for the wasted water. We call this a Leak Allowance.

    Please note that you won’t be eligible for a Leak Allowance if:

    • The leak was caused by your negligence

    • You took too long to repair it

    • You knew about the leak (because it was visible) but failed to repair it

    • You should have known about the leak and failed to repair it

    • We have made a previous allowance for leaks

    • We had previously recommended that you replace the pipe but you failed to do so

    • Your supply is commercial

    • The leak occurred as a result of faulty pipes or fittings in your property

    We will not adjust your bill for leaks that have arisen from internal pipework and fittings unless, in some case, the leak was not visible and you were not aware of it, or if you have claimed for a Leak Allowance before. If you are concerned about further leaks on your supply pipe, or about losing water from internal pipes and fittings, you may wish to investigate taking out insurance to cover the cost of lost water.


    How to claim a subsidy

    To be eligible for a £100 contribution towards the cost of your repair, you must first inform us that you have found a leak on your supply pipe. Depending on your comments and findings we may not need to attend your property to confirm this. If you are uncertain about the leak we will visit the site and advise you.

    To qualify for the payment you must complete the renewal of the entire supply pipe from the internal stop tap to the boundary of your property. You will need to do this within 21 days of the date on which you first informed us of the leakage. A claim form will be sent to you asking for your bank details. You must return this claim form within 21 days of notifying us that the supply pipe has been renewed.

    Please note if you are on a shared supply then all the responsible owners have to renew their part of the supply pipe for everyone to qualify.


    What happens if I don’t repair the leak?

    It is our responsibility to prevent any loss of water and notify the property owners about any leaks we may detect. The person or company responsible should arrange and pay for the leak to be repaired.

    If the leak is not repaired we may serve a legal notice under section 75 of the Water Industry Act 1991. The notice advises the property owners of their responsibility to repair the leak within a specified date. If the leak is not repaired by the date we will arrange a repair ourselves, if necessary we may get a warrant to get access to the property. We will choose a contractor to do the repair and all costs we incur will be charged to the property owner.

    Please note: It is important that you repair your leak quickly to avoid any unnecessary costs and legal action.


    Why have you sent me a notice?

    We attempt to notify the property owner about any leaks we may detect, either by a phone call or in person from one of our community teams. If we cannot contact the owner by phone or in person we will send a leakage notification letter. If you received a waste of water notice then it is because we believe you are responsible for the leaking pipe work on the property.

    If you are not responsible for repairing the leak, for example if you are a tenant who is not responsible for repairs, please contact us on 0345 3572409. We would be grateful if you can provide details of who is responsible for repairs, for example your landlord, council or managing agent.

Find a local approved Plumber

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Approved plumbers

Water pressure

Useful information if you are experiencing low or high water pressure.

Water pressure

Water Fittings Regulation

Before doing any plumbing work, please notify us.

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