As a homeowner, it is up to you to make sure the integrity of your plumbing system is working. Water leaks, even small ones, can result in bigger water bills and water damage that can cost you thousands of dollars to repair. We will go over some ways to find water leaks in your home before they become a financial headache that empties your bank account.
You may think a burst pipe spraying water all over is the ultimate plumbing nightmare. While this certainly isn’t a pleasant scenario, at least it’s obvious, and you’ll know to immediately get to the water shut-off valve and kill the supply of water before it can do major damage. Small leaks are another plumbing problem that can potentially be worse than an obvious rupture. They can be more insidious because you may not find them for weeks or months. By that time, they may have done considerable damage to flooring, walls, cabinetry and other parts of your home.
Find Out if Your Home Has Any Water Leaks
Before randomly commencing a search for leaks, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to tell if there are any leaks in the home to uncover? The following test will let you know that there probably is a leak somewhere in your home.
- Make sure all the faucets and appliances that use water are turned off.
- Look at your water meter, and write down the number it shows.
- After waiting an hour, return to your water meter, and look at the number again. Has it changed? This means you have a water leak somewhere.
- If your water meter is located at the curb, you’ll want to perform the additional step of turning off your home’s main water pipe shut-off valve. This will be located in the basement or crawlspace where the pipe enters the home.
- You will want to write down the numbers displayed on the water meter, wait an hour and return. More than likely, you’ll find the numbers have not changed, which means the leak is inside your home. If the numbers are different, then the water line running from the street to your home has the leak.
Let’s say the last test has shown that there’s a leak somewhere in your home. To avoid wasting time, you want to limit your search to certain areas where leaks are most likely to occur. The following are some things to check to find the leak.
Check Under Your Sinks and Behind Your Toilet
This is the most obvious first step. Most leaks will be found where water is flowing into or out of some fixture that needs water to operate. Sinks and toilets have piping underneath with various connections, and these can wear over time and may spring leaks.
Check Lines Leading Into Major Water Appliances
In most homes, this will mean checking the water heater and washer. Look behind your washer when it’s running and see if any water is leaking or if there’s a pool of water behind or near the washer. Do the same with your water heater.
Check Your Toilet’s Flapper
The flapper is the rubber stop in the toilet tank that falls down after you release the toilet flush handle. It creates a seal to allow the toilet tank to fill with water. Over time, these can become faulty, and it may not be fully covering the area it needs to that signals the toilet it can stop filling. Basically, if you hear your toilet running constantly or running longer than it should, this is a sign of a bad flapper.
What Can I Do About A Leak
There is some good news when this is the reason for a loss of water in your home. At least you know the water is not spilling all over where it shouldn’t be. The bad news is that you’ll have an enormous water bill if you don’t fix the problem promptly. Luckily, this can be a do-it-yourself job for many homeowners. It just requires an instructional YouTube video and a trip to the hardware store for a new flapper.
Pay Attention to Clues for Leaks
Is there a musty smell in a particular bathroom or in the kitchen? This could be an indication of a leak somewhere in there. Bubbling paint or wall discoloration can be a clue of a leak in a pipe behind that wall. Also, try listening for a leak. If the water is running along a pipe you won’t hear it, but it might be falling off a pipe, which will cause a dripping sound.
Let’s say you performed all the above checks, and you found a leak. You might want to perform that test with the water meter that uncovered the presence of leaks again. After all, it’s possible there’s more than one leak.
What to Do if You Have a Leak
The first thing is not to delay in handling the leak. Especially if it’s a tiny leak, it may not feel like it’s that big of an emergency. The thing you need to understand is that water seeps in everywhere and starts damaging places where it’s not supposed to be. Small leaks also rarely stay small for long. It’s important to nip them in the bud.
If it’s just a leaking faucet or other simple fixture, you might try your hand at replacing it yourself. In the event of leaks behind walls or other more difficult issues, you should definitely call in a professional.
Your Tennessee Plumbing Experts
Have you found a leak in your home? Do you think you have a leak but are having trouble locating it? At River City Plumbing, we have the master plumbers with the knowledge and expertise to get to the bottom of any plumbing issues.
Whether you need a Germantown plumber or a Memphis plumber, we serve a wide area around our Germantown office. We have a solid reputation for accurately diagnosing the problem and then giving competitive estimates for a professional job. We serve homeowners and businesses and have many satisfied clients. Please give us a call quickly, so we can get your leak fixed before it costs you tremendous amounts of money for water damage repairs.