Finding Leaks before They Flood Your Home

Pipes deteriorate over time. Small cracks for due to rust, corrosion, plant roots, and frozen pipes, causing minor leaks. However, small leaks can become bigger and cause serious problems to your drywall, flooring, carpets and cabinets. Even so, small leaks can add up to a significant water bill. Use the information in this article to detect and avoid leaks.

Plan a leak detection schedule

A quick inspection once a month can go far in helping you save your home and pocket from leaks. A small drip can waste 600 gallons per month.

Once or twice a month, check all your faucets, fixtures and appliances that use water for leaks.

Here's where to look:

Shower faucets:  Leaks can occur even when your shower is off. Your showerhead should not drip between uses.

Tip:  Mineral build-up can deteriorate the washers in your shower head. Use vinegar to remove deposits and wrap plumber's tape across the threads before you screw the shower head back on.

Toilet:  Silent toilet leaks often go undetected. Replacing the flapper or a worn-out seal can prevent water from leaking into the bowl.

Tip:  Add a few drops of blue food coloring to the toilet tank, but do not flush. Check after a few minutes to see if the color of the water in the bowl has changed to blue. If not, no problem. If it has changed, your toilet is leaking.

Sink:  Check under the sink for damp spots and water build-up from leaks in the pipes of your faucets, pipes, and water-using appliances.

Tip:  Water should not drain with the stopper in place. Ensure that the stoppers in your sinks and tubs seal the drains properly to prevent having to refill the the water before you are done.

Appliances:  Rubber hoses often weaken and crack or tear. Appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines use high water pressure in the hoses, which means that leaks can cause serious water loss, and damage when flooding occurs.

Tip: Turn off the water sources between washes. Appliances can break without warning. You can also purchase no-burst hoses that use corrosion-free couplings. These pipes are also longer, which limits stress placed on them by stretching.

Leak Test

The leak test will help you verify large water leaks inside and outside your home. It will not give you the location, as you will need a plumber with professional leak detection equipment to find the actual leak.

In order to perform a leak test, turn off all faucets and automatic appliances, irrigation equipment, dishwashers, ice machines and clothes washers.

1.  Take 1st Water Reading

Go to your water meter and take a reading.  Ensure that nothing is using water.

2.  Take a 2nd Reading

Return to the meter for another reading.

3.  Interpret the Results

Has the reading changed despite all water-using appliances and faucets being off? Go around the house and outside again to ensure everything is turned off, and repeat step 1 & 2.

Although this test will not show small leaks, it should help you find any significant leaks.

Leaks should be remedied immediately to avoid them from causing serious damage. If you hear a constant dripping, but you are unable to find the leak, it might be a good idea to call a plumber for video leak detection.


Written by Tanya Klien

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