Detecting A Water Leak

A water leak in your home, regardless of its location, can be devastating to your house’s structure. A slow water leak can gradually rot wood, drywall, wear down the foundation and cause health issues for the residents. While a major leak is often easy to find, a slow leak can cause major destruction and you may not even realize it is happening! It is important that you check your home periodically for leaks to ensure its integrity is not compromised. Early detection can save you a fortune in the long run.

The biggest problem with underground locator a leak is that it may not be in an area where you can actually see the leak. If you have a pipe that leaks behind a wall, or even a sprinkler head in your yard that has a profound drip, it can do damage. The easiest way to determine if you have a water is leak to check your water meter. To check the water meter, it requires turning off the water to your home and then turning off all the faucets and appliances that use water, including your icemaker. Once you have established the water has been completely turned off, check your water meter for any movement. If the meter is still running, you have a fast moving leak in the house. To determine a slow moving leak, keep the water off and check the meter again in a few hours; if there’s movement, there is a slow leak somewhere.  Neither is good, but a slow leak will be more difficult to find.

You can also check with your utility company to identify your water usage each month. They can give you statistics for your area, your home size, your family size and additional variables to gauge the amount of water you should be using each month. If your water usage is greater than the average usage, you may want to check your home for a potential leak. You can also gauge it by managing your water usage habits. If you notice that your water bill continues to rise but your habits haven’t changed, that might be another clear indication that you have a leak.

Once you have determined that you do, indeed, have a leak, it is imperative to isolate the area where the leak is occurring. Start with your bathroom and check your tub/shower area, your sink and your toilet for any signs of leaks. Even a small drip-drip-drip can add up, so see if you find any obvious signs. Check under the cabinet to see if the wood has any signs of moisture or if the flooring has signs of water accumulation. A toilet leak can displace almost 30 percent of your water, and oftentimes, you have a head’s up that you have a leak when you hear the water continuously running. You can also drop some food coloring into the tank and wait to see if the colored water shows up in your bowl. If so, there’s a leak from your tank to your drain that needs to be addressed. There may not be obvious signs of a leak in the tub and shower area; it may be behind the wall and can be a problem with your pipes. The next area to check is your kitchen and laundry room by moving your appliances. If you note any water buildup by your dishwasher, refrigerator, washer or dryer, you need to address it right away. These leaks not only can be bad for the flooring and drywall, but you obviously have an issue with your appliance, as well.

You’ll want to be diligent about checking your home, especially if it is an older home. Your plumbing system will slowly deteriorate over time, lending the opportunity for all kinds of potential problems. Keep an eye on the underside of sink cabinets for signs of mold or any strange smells. Inspect your water heater, and hoses that connect to the washing machine; their slow decline can also lead to major leaks.

If you have a basement in your home, this is a prime spot for leaks and damage. You may not see the damage, but if you have any water build up, you will see some mold and you can definitely smell the “damp smell” that accompanies a water leak. It is not only potentially harmful to breath in these airborne mold spores, but it is slowly eating away at your drywall. Another spot for water and mold to accumulate: your attic crawlspace. If you happen to have a leak in your roof, it can be rotting the wood trusses as well as your insulation. Once again, you could be breathing in mold and mildew and not even know it! This is why inspections are so important.

You will also want to check the exterior of your home for any potential issues. You can check your outside water spigot by attaching a garden hose and seeing is any of the water escape from the hose. It may be as simple as replacing the rubber gasket, but if you still have a leak after it is replaced, the problem is much bigger. Swimming pools can also be very costly if you have a leak but determining where the leak may be challenging. Using a few drops of food coloring can help you figure out which way the water is flowing after you turn off You can also circumvent a problem in your yard by periodically checking the sprinkler heads to ensure they are not broken and constantly leaking water. You’d be surprised at how these small adjustments can save you thousands of gallons of water each month!

If you find you have water pipe leak detection anywhere on your property, you need to take care of it right away. The best way is to have a professional plumber come inspect the area where you suspect you may have a leak and better yet, schedule an inspection before you detect a problem. If you have a regular inspection by a professional on an annual basis, you can save yourself the time, money and heartache of fixing the damage the water has done after the fact. Prevention, especially with an older home, is key!

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