A faulty pipe or an ignored leak can cause a flood, damage your property and destroy your belongings. Before you go, take some practical steps to ensure you’re protecting your home and its contents from flooding.

Check for leaks

Inspect your bathrooms and water taps for any leaks. If you’re uncertain how to carry out a proper check, hire professional plumbers to help you. Spotting a leak gives you time to fix it, prevent soaring water bills and save water. If you have a garden or garage, check them too. Keep an eye on your bill to look for any odd spikes.

Turn off appliances

Before traveling, turn off  appliances which use water, such as washing machines and dishwashers. Tightly close all taps, sinks and showers, as well as the toilet hoses.

Turn off water supply

Properties usually have a water meter with a dial. A moving dial indicates that water is still running somewhere in the house and is not completely turned off. Check the dial at regular intervals to see if it has moved from its original spot. If it has, there’s a slow leak you might have missed.

If you aren’t sure where to turn off the water, get your building maintenance to help you locate the meter.

Ask a friend to visit

Ask the next door neighbor or a friend who lives nearby to conduct regular apartment inspections while you’re away. Think about rolling up and storing any valuable rugs too.

Get insured against flooding

Invest in an home insurance plan before traveling. Read the terms and conditions and cover limits, and check if your plan includes items such as personal money, valuables and electronics.

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Reduce flooding damage

There are measures you can take to minimize the damage later on in case your house does get flooded.

  • Raise your electrical sockets and fuse box from the floor
  • Use water-resistant materials such as stainless steel, solid wood and plastic in the kitchen and bathrooms
  • Fix TV units to the wall
  • Store valuable items in safe boxes and keep them on top of high shelves
  • Obviously one to do some time before you go, but ceramic tiles are not going to get water-logged in the same way as carpets so, if you have a choice between the two, this is a big pro.

[Also read: Property leaks and damage: Whose problem is it, anyway? / What you need to know about home contents insurance]