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Should Water Be Turned Off in an Empty Property?

Jun 25, 2024

If you have property that you know is going to be empty for an extended period of time, then you should take steps to safeguard your property.

In this post we’ll look at some of the precautions you can take to keep your property safe, including whether or not it’s a good idea to turn the water off in your empty property.

If you have any specific questions about your property, particularly regarding risk management or home insurance, our friendly team is always happy to help. Get in touch by calling 0208 290 9086 or emailing personal@anthonyjones.com.

How Long Will Your Property Be Empty?

There are a number of reasons why property might be left empty for an extended period:

First, determine just how long the property’s likely to be empty. If your property will only be empty for a matter of weeks, then turning off the water and other utilities might be too impractical. But if the property will be empty for a matter of months, then there are some clear benefits to turning off the water. For advice on probate, see our guide on How Long Probate Takes.

Why Should I Turn Off The Water In an Empty Property?

First of all, turning off the water and other utilities can save you money on tariffs. This can be a trade-off through. You might need to call a contractor to turn off certain supplies, and to turn them on again. The amount you pay the contractor might outweigh the amount you can save by turning your utilities off.

The main reason why people think about turning off the water and other utilities in empty properties is to reduce the risk of floods and fires. Water pipes can freeze, burst, and rupture, leading to floods and escape of water. Gas leaks could lead to disaster. Electrical wiring can short, which can lead to sparks and fires.

When there’s nobody around to keep an eye on things, small problems can quickly escalate into major problems. So if your property’s going to be empty for a long time, then turning off the water and other utilities can bring some peace of mind.

Reasons Why You Might Not Want to Turn Off the Water in an Empty Property

As we mentioned above, you may have to call a specialist to disconnect and reconnect certain supplies, which could cost you more than you’d save on your tariffs.

But there are other reasons why you might not want to turn off your water and other utilities:

  • Turning off your water can help prevent leaks and floods. But underheating a property through the winter can result in freezing pipes and other problems. If a property’s going to be unoccupied through the winter months, then keeping the heating on low – 12°C or so – could help keep your property safe.
  • Turning off your power might be a very bad idea if you use CCTV and other alarm systems to keep your unoccupied property safe. If these systems do not use their own power source, then cutting the mains could leave your property vulnerable to break-ins.
  • Will any contractors be visiting your unoccupied property to make any repairs or renovations? If so, they’ll probably need running water and power.
  • Are you planning on selling your unoccupied property? If so, a warm house with running water and lighting will be a lot more appealing to buyers than a cold, dark, empty shell.

How to Turn Off The Water in an Empty Property

Consider how long your property will be empty and think about the pros and cons of turning off your water and other utilities. If you’ve decided that your property will be safer without water, gas, and power, then here’s how you turn off your supplies:

  • Water – Locate your property’s stopcock to turn off your water supply, then run your taps to drain your plumbing system.
  • Gas – Contact a specialist from the Gas Safe Register who can safely and effectively isolate or cut-off your gas supply.
  • Electricity – You could flip your property’s circuit breakers yourself. But it would be better to get a specialist from Electrical Safety First to safely and effectively isolate or deactivate your supply.

You Will Also Need Unoccupied Home Insurance

Most standard home insurance policies are voided if the property is unoccupied after 30-60 days. So if your property is going to be unoccupied for a while – for example, throughout the lengthy probate process – then you will need specialist unoccupied home insurance.

We can provide expert risk management advice along with specialist bespoke insurance to help you keep your property safe while it’s unoccupied. Get in touch with us on 0208 8290 9086 or email us at personal@anthonyjones.com.


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