How to prevent water damage in your home

man fixing leaking tap


Posted April 09, 2024

Water damage from flexi hose leaks and burst pipes can cause significant damage to your home. Here's how to prevent water damage in your home.

Water damage can cause significant issues and costly repairs for homeowners. It's important to take proactive steps to prevent water damage and protect your home.

In 2023, RACV Trades attended emergency callouts for 6,377 burst pipes and 5,525 broken or leaking taps.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimise water damage if you know what to look for and take a proactive approach to home maintenance.

RACV Home and Contents Insurance can help cover a range of events including damage from water leaks caused by a faulty washing machine or leaking pipe. For more information on the types of events covered, read the Product Disclosure Statement.

mopping up overflowing water from washing machine with blue bucket in background

Excessive water damage may be avoided through proactive checks. Image: Getty

Water damage prevention tips 

Regularly check appliances for water leaks

Regular inspection for leaks is a crucial aspect of preventing water damage. Even small leaks can cause significant damage over time if left untreated.

Check underneath sinks and around dishwashers, toilets and washing machines for signs of leaking water, as well as fraying or kinking flexi hoses. Any leaks should be promptly fixed by a licensed plumber.

Having a regular home maintenance schedule that includes a licensed plumber checking any flexi hoses for signs of water leaks and damage can be the difference between a minor and fixable problem, or major water damage to your home in the future.

Ensure all pipes and flexi hoses are installed by a licensed plumber

No matter how simple a job may seem, it’s important to always have a licensed plumber install flexi hoses and other plumbing products in the home.

A flexi hose is a cheap and convenient rubber pipe encased in stainless steel. They are widely used in kitchen, laundry and bathroom sinks, as they can be easily bent into shape to fit piping. But flexi hoses are also the most common cause of internal water leaks in homes. Depending on the appliance they're connected to, such as washing machines and dishwashers, flexi hoses can cause significant damage when they burst.

A licenced plumber will follow best practice protocol and ensure that pipe and flexi hose installation is completed safely for minimal risk of leaks or bursting.


hand taking out debris from gutter

Ensure roof gutters are clear of leaves and debris. Image: Getty

Properly insulate exposed pipes

Insulating your exposed pipes can help prevent them from freezing and bursting during winter in colder areas. Insulating hot water pipes can also help retain heat and reduce energy loss, saving you money on your utility bills.

Insulation sleeves or wrapping can be easily installed by licensed plumbers to protect your pipes from extreme temperatures.

Keep your gutters and downspouts clean

Clogged gutters and downpipes can lead to water overflow, causing damage to your home's foundation, walls, and landscaping.

Clean your gutters and downpipes regularly, removing leaves, debris, and any obstructions to ensure proper water flow.

Working at height on ladders can be risky, so consider hiring a professional to give your gutters a thorough clean.

Routinely inspect your roof and ceilings

Regularly inspecting your roof and ceilings can help you identify any potential leaks or damage. Look for signs of water penetration like tea-coloured stains on plaster or damp spots on the joints.

From the outside, check for things like missing or cracked roof tiles, whether the flashing surrounding the chimney is intact, and other signs of visible water damage.

In addition, keep any overhanging trees trimmed so that large branches cannot fall down on your home during bad weather and damage your roof.

Addressing these issues promptly can prevent water from seeping into your home.


mould in windowsill

Mould in the home should be eliminated as soon as possible. Image: Getty

Look for moisture and mould in your home

Mould in the home is a serious problem that needs to be addressed quickly. Dehumidifiers can help remove damp air that leads to mould.

When inspecting the inside of the home for the beginnings of water damage, look for signs like flaking paint or wallpaper, as well as speckled marks on skirting boards. Condensation on skylights or windowsills in the mornings can also be a sign there is above-average moisture levels in the house.

Know where your water main is

Your water main controls the flow of water to your property. In the case of a plumbing emergency, such as a burst pipe, the water main's shut-off valve allows you to turn off the water supply to your entire home to prevent further water damage.

The water main shut-off valve is usually located at the front of the house, near the water metre or where the main water line enters your property. It should be protected by a council plate. Familiarise yourself with its location and make sure it is easily accessible in case of an emergency.

To turn off the water main shut-off valve, turn it clockwise to its closed position. If the valve is stiff, wear protective gloves or use pliers to help you slowly and evenly turn the valve.


person rolling up wet rug

Water can damage your home contents as well as your property. Image: Getty

Install a water leak detection device

A water leak detection device is a relatively inexpensive product that has sensors to detect leaks or abnormal water levels.

By installing a water leak detection system, you can quickly identify and address leaks, preventing extensive damage and minimising repair costs.

A water alarm is another useful device. Water alarms are small, battery-operated devices that emit a loud sound when they detect water. These alarms are typically placed in areas prone to water leaks, such as laundry rooms. By alerting you to the presence of water, water alarms allow you to take immediate action, preventing further damage and potential mould growth.


RACV Trades can help get your home in order.
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RACV Trades is a trading name of RACV's trade partner, Club Home Response Pty Ltd (Victorian registered domestic building practitioner number CDB-U 100178). All works are performed or arranged by Club Home Response Pty Ltd. trading as RACV Trades.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.