Homeowners may find it difficult to realise they have an underfloor leak. They may hear the tank in the attic refilling all the time. Or they might notice a drop in the heating system pressure gauge. Alternatively there may be a discoloration on the timber floors, floor tiles may be coming loose or boasted (hollow noise when tapped with the back of a knife). Skirting boards coming away from the walls. Timber floors cupping or crowning. Sometimes we see Kitchen or utility sideboards/end panels or toe boards become darker and split. A dampness tide mark just above the skirting can also be a sign. The worst damage from an underfloor leak could be subsidence ( Imagine an incoming water mains leaking for 20 years beside a wall foundation , softening the ground below it). In Property Claims Loss Assessors LTD (PCLA) we have seen all of these problems and know what the cause is.
Among the plumbing profession are companies that specialise in detecting underfloor leaks. They do this by using Infra red cameras or putting gas into the system and seeing where it comes up. Similar to a problem where the smell of sewerage is coming up in the house , and by letting off a smoke bomb in the manhole closest to the house and seeing where the smoke comes up inside tells the repair company where to look. Finding and repairing theses leaks is covered under most insurance policies by the term ‘trace and access’. There is a limit on most policies of around €750 in the south and as much as £5000 in Northern Ireland. The same problems arise on all of these issues when making a claim – THE LEAK MUST BE FOUND AND REPAIRED. When making a claim for leaks of this nature the onus is on the homeowner to prove that they have a claim and a plumber must confirm there is one and repair it and issue a written report.
In PCLA when called in to assess an underfloor leak we carry out a full dampness survey of the entire ground floor of the house. As a leaking pipe can leak downwards onto a damp proof membrane and spread horizontally it demonstrates how necessary a full survey is needed. By ensuring all of the damage is professionally assessed and thoroughly investigated saves the Insurance company and the homeowners a lot of potential problems. PCLA is the preferred company for all plumbers both North and South and if you refer a claim to PCLA you will receive a referral fee of 10% of our fee.
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