Escape of water

15 March 2019

Water damage at your church has the capacity to interrupt your usual day-to-day activities and mission goals.

Even the smallest of water leaks can lead to significant damage to walls, ceilings, floors, electrics and contents if not remedied swiftly. The longer they go unnoticed, the more damage they tend to cause. 

Finding the cause of a water leak

  • Regularly inspect cold water tanks and pipework to support the early detection of any leaks. This should be done by a competent plumber, such as a member of the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors or the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers.
  • Check for any running overflow pipes, indicative of plumbing faults.
  • Check all radiator valves and joints for signs of rust and wear and tear. 
  • Check appliances, such as dishwashers, especially hose connectors. If a leak is detected, isolate the water supply and arrange repairs. 

Preventing leaks and burst pipes in churches

To help reduce the risk of a water leak at your church, we have examined the escape of water losses suffered by our church customers and identified some low cost actions you can take.

  • Repair any leaking taps by promptly fitting new washers. 
  • Ensure you have a programme in place to clear roof gutters and valleys of vegetation, leaves and other debris every six months. 
  • Maintain an adequate level of heating (minimum 5ºC) to reduce the risk of water pipes and tanks freezing. Heating systems should be regularly serviced. 
  • Where adequate heating cannot be maintained, or in unheated areas, water pipes and tanks should be adequately lagged or fitted with trace heating where possible. Install frost stats and thermostats if not already in place. 
  • Ensure stopcocks are in working order, can be turned on and off safely and that all relevant people know their location. Consider labelling the stopcock so it is easy to find. 
  • If any pipework does freeze, isolate the pipe by closing the stopcock on the feed from the tank or main. If possible, drain down the water system by opening taps inside the property. 
  • Consider the installation of water leak detection systems that can raise an alert in the event of a leak and can also be used to isolate the water supply, reducing the amount of damage to the property.  
  • Never use blowlamps or any form of naked flame to thaw a frozen pipe. Before you start to thaw the system, do what you can to protect or remove contents which might be damaged by thawing water running from a burst. 
  • Ensure emergency call out numbers of heating engineers, plumbers and insurers are available.

Unoccupied churches

A significant number of escape of water losses occur in unoccupied buildings. If buildings are going to be unoccupied for a lengthy period of time, usually more than 30 days, ensure you turn off the water supply and drain the water system.  

In order for us to support you at the earliest opportunity, it is essential you report all incidents that are likely to give rise to a claim. By following these helpful steps you can reduce the risks associated with water damage occurring.
You can call the Methodist Insurance claims team on 0345 60 61 331.
Document icon