Expert warns new homeowners to check properties for water leaks – especially if you are buying this property type

Some house types are more prone to water leaks than others, and a leak could cost over £1,000 to repair, warns water detector expert

If you're in the process of buying a home, water leaks will likely be the last thing on your mind. And yet, a leak can be costly to repair and cause much misery upon moving into a new home – and some UK house types are notorious for leaks.

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The UK property type most prone to leaks

A study by Insurtech provider of IoT enabled water detectors, LeakBot, reveals that 20 per cent of surveyed homeowners have experienced three or more water leaks in houses they have lived in as adults. With each leak resulting in average repair costs of £1,074 and over half (52 per cent) of polled property owners opting to shell out for these repairs themselves, the data proves it could be a costly issue to overlook.

a kitchen with a brick wall behind a silver kitchen sink with a white colander containing sweet peppers resting on the side, and a catci in a pot at the far end of the bench next to a red food processor

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Rachèl Reeve)

The water detector specialists have also established that some properties were more at risk of these costly, water leaks than others. Those purchasing a post-war property (1945-1990) should do so wearingly as the study revealed these homes to be the most susceptible to leaks. In fact, over a quarter (28 per cent) of surveyed post-war property owners revealed they had experienced a domestic leak in a home of this age. The study named faulty bathroom plumbing as the biggest culprit of water leaks in post-war aged properties, closely followed by problematic kitchen pipes and leaky shower or bath units . Although, those looking to purchase a new-build property (1990-2019) aren’t out of the clear either as over 1 in 10 polled homeowners reported domestic leaks despite newer fittings.

With this in mind, we've asked Craig Foster, CEO of LeakBot, to give his top tips on what to look out for to steer clear of expensive water leaks when buying a home.

What to look for when buying a home

1. Find the stop tap

Craig said: 'Important checks include locating and testing the stop tap in the property and making sure there is nothing leaking in the immediate area or no water pooling.' The stop tap is the one thing that will help you prevent water damage to your home if there is a leak or burst pipe, so you really don't want that to be faulty.

2. Check all appliances that use water

a bathroom with wooden floors, walls where the bottom half is a powder blue and top half a yellow floral wallpaper, and blue and white rolltop bathtub

(Image credit: FuturePLC/ Tim Young)

This may feel awkward to do, but you really need to check out the area around all the appliances in the house, Craig says: 'All appliances within the home that require water, even if these are not included in the purchase, should be checked to ensure water supply lines are fitted securely and there is no evidence of damp in or around the appliance.'

3. Watch out for cold water storage tanks

dark blue and white freestanding rolltop bathtub in a bathroom with white walls and white wooden floorboards and ceiling, with brown wooden chair and vanity unit

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Cold water storage tanks are typically found in the loft of a house, so if you're looking at a house that has one, 'the loft should be carefully checked to confirm all fittings are secure and fitted correctly.' In fact, go beyond the loft – 'all areas of the home, including those that aren’t instantly visible, should be checked for any signs of damp that could signal a past or current leak.'

Related: Home repairs you can DIY – easy fixes from dripping taps to squeaky floorboards

Performing these checks are well worth the extra effort, Craig concludes: 'By cautiously checking potential purchases in this way, buyers can help future proof their home against leaks and prevent costly repairs and undue stress.'

Anna Cottrell is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.