A Homeowner’s Guide To Pinpointing Water Leaks

Common Plumbing Problems, DIY, How-To, Savings, Water Pressure,

Water leaks in the home can strike at any time. Unfortunately, leaks aren’t always apparent, and they become more damaging the longer they continue.

  • A minor leak in a roof or basement can cause severe structural damage if it is not identified and repaired.
  • Mold and bacteria may develop and create health issues for residents.
  • You might be paying for it already in the form of higher water bills if a leak is in the water main.

For these reasons and more, it’s important to identify the signs of a leak as quickly as possible. Often, there’s a simple fix. Other times, you’ll require support from experienced plumbers to rectify the problem.

Look for the following tell-tale signs of a leak in each of the main areas of your home, and you’ll be able to act quickly when the need arises.

Check for Excess Water Usage

A quick way to determine whether you have a leak in your water supply is to check your meter. Start by switching off all the faucets in your home, along with any water-dependent appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.

Once you’re confident that your home isn’t using any water, pay close attention to the meter. If it’s still moving, the chances are you’re dealing with a serious leak. Bear in mind that you might not see the meter moving immediately. If possible, leave the water off for one or two hours and check the meter again.

It’s also worth keeping a close eye on your water bill. If it increases without good reason, you need to investigate.

Check Your Toilets

An external leak around your toilet is usually pretty obvious. However, the silent leaks that come from the tank are the ones that end up costing you a lot of money. Even a minor leak can lead to a constant flow of water from the tank to the bowl — but there’s an easy way to check.

Drop a little food coloring into the tank water and wait. After around 30 minutes, check to see if the water in the bowl has changed color. If it has, there’s a leak somewhere that’s costing you money every day. Issues with the flapper valve, the flush handle, or the overflow are usually to blame for toilet leaks.

Monitor Your Water Pressure

You know what normal water pressure in your home looks and feels like. If it drops, there’s a chance that water is being lost somewhere between the main and your faucets. Try to follow your water pipes back and outside. Look for damp patches, watermarks, mold and damage to walls.

Scour the Basement

The laws of gravity guarantee that water will always find the lowest point of your home. If it’s safe, climb into your basement or the crawl space under your property. Look for pools of water on the ground. After you’ve turned off the water supply, listen for the sound of running or dripping water.

Check the Cutoff Valve

The cutoff valve stops water from the mains entering your home. It’s essential that you know where the valve is, just in case a minor leak quickly becomes serious. You should also inspect the valve for damage and leakage.

You’ll find your cutoff valve where the service line enters your property.

Check All Your Rooms for the Tell-Tale Signs of a Leak

There are often visible signs of a leak inside a property, and some are easy to identify. For example, pipes under sinks with leaks usually cause damage or staining to surrounding surfaces. Unexplained watermarks on carpet, wood flooring, walls, and baseboards can also signify a leak. If you have wallpaper on your walls, it might begin to peel away for no clear reason.

It’s also a good idea to check your water heater regularly. Many leaks in domestic heaters go unnoticed because the valve is connected directly to the drain. Don’t touch anything; simply listen for flowing water in the connected hoses and use a flashlight to search for visual clues. In many cases, falling water pressure indicates a leak.

Check Outside

Some leaks don’t leave any clues inside a home, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. Take a few minutes to check your exterior water pipes for leaks. Pay particular attention to spigots, which can drip from the nozzle. As well as performing visual checks, you should listen for sounds of running water.

Other outdoor areas to check include the swimming pools and its pipework, irrigation systems, and the main water service line into your home. Also, keep a watchful eye on the water table in your yard. If you notice sudden and unexplained pooling on your lawn, this could be a sign of a major underground leak.

Call for leak-locating backup

Whether you’re not confident enough to search for leaks or you don’t have the time, our experienced professionals at WaterWork Plumbing can do all the hard work for you. Contact us today, and we’ll arrange a time to perform a comprehensive inspection of your home’s plumbing system.