Water Based Issues

Water Based Issues

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If the water circulation pump (under the water heater) starts up without you running any water or using water based appliances, water is being lost or there is a leak somewhere. The pump should only operate to top up used water. 

Simple checks can include the following:

  • Check the toilet; see if there is a constant trickle of water in the bowl. This could be a very simple problem, or indicative of a leak.
  • Turn off all taps, do not flush the loo, and listen to the water tank and pump. If the tank continues to sound as though it is filling continuously, or the pump switches on and off repeatedly, a ball valve replacement may be required as hot water is passing through the overflow outside. This can be very expensive in heating costs.
  • Please contact the Duty Concierge if you have no water coming through your taps. It may be an estate wide issue and outside agencies and contractors. may need to be contacted


Leaks often go unnoticed until the problem extends to an adjoining property and causes damage. Recent common leak issues have included:

  • Poor mastic seals around baths and showers, including wall tile grouting. Breaks or missing mastic can cause up to 4 litres of water per shower to end up beneath the bath; this water will eventually end up in someone else’s flat! If the mastic appears cracked, mouldy, or is simply missing, it must be replaced before damage occurs. If there are gaps between tiles they should be re-grouted.
  • Washing machines and dishwashers frequently develop minor leaks that accumulate and eventually cause damage. If there is a smell of damp or there is black mould in the cupboards where taps are housed, there is probably a leak. 
  • Loose taps in bathrooms which will eventually undo the washers securing the pipe work and lead to leaks. Cold taps are under mains pressure, and if damaged, can damage several properties within a matter of minutes. Loose taps must be tightened as soon as they are noticed.
  • Damage to the flexible silver braided pipe which is attached to the solid copper pipe-work under the bathroom sink. Most bathroom sinks are connected in this way. If braided pipes are forced out of shape, or damaged in any way, they will fracture and leak. Avoid placing any item on shelves which can abrade these pipes, or force them out of alignment. 
  • Faulty water pumps. Water pumps are a highly pressurised water source and cause immediate damaging consequences if they fail. Whilst this is uncommon, there are usually indicators including rusting of joints, or blue/green coloured oxidation on the pump or connectors which should be checked frequently. A common problem with pumps is damage caused by cramming the cupboard full of personal items, leading to subsequent damage to the water tank fittings. If the floor around the pump is seen to be damp, it should be checked immediately.
  • Incorrectly placed water tank lids. The water tank has two removable lids fitted. If they fall inside the tank, they can affect the ball-cock operation and may lead to leaks. If they are not in place, heat will escape leading to condensation. Do not cover the tank lids with personal items.
  • Leaking overflows. Overflows must be checked on a regular basis to ensure they are not leaking. 

Spotting Leaks   

Many leaks are difficult to spot initially. The first indication is normally the smell of damp, or indications of black mould in cupboards and under baths. Other more subtle indicators are woodwork becoming soft around water based fixtures, or bubbling of paint at floor level. Vinyl flooring may lift at the edges, indicating water damage.

If you note water loss from appliances, which can be infrequent and not necessarily permanent, it may be that the appliance is moving in operation, causing a small amount of movement at the joints of taps and connectors. This is easily checked and rectified, but will cause problems if left unchecked.

Leaks from other properties will normally be fairly evident, and will usually appear in ceilings directly above your own wet areas, bathrooms, kitchens etc. Seek advice from staff as soon as possible if a leak is spotted; do not leave it for weeks before reporting it, regardless of how minor it appears.

Water Precautions

Ensure you are aware of how to use the stopcock to isolate the mains supply in an emergency. Isolate your mains if you are leaving the property for a lengthy period. If you are leaving the water heaters on whilst you are away in winter, turn the heat level to a minimum setting.