Water leaks in your home can be detrimental to both your family’s health as well as to your home’s foundation. Water that seeps into your home could cause mold build-up or harbor disease-carrying insects, which are health issues for your loved ones. There is a possibility of paint and siding damage or harm to wood – which can lead to rot. Water leaks can also drown landscaping, crack your home’s foundation or sidewalk, and flood areas of your home resulting in costly repairs (replacing wood, flooring, drywall, etc.).
All of these potential complications can substantially drain your pocketbook as well as skyrocket your insurance premium. Should you suspect a water leak, you must attempt to find the source! Leaks can occur in many different places around the home, making them hard to find.
We have compiled a list of areas that are common for water leaks to help you determine 1) if you do have a water leak and 2) where the leak may be originating from.
Water bills are a huge indicator of water leaks. If your bill is abnormally high and you haven’t had a habit/ water usage change, you can be sure that extra water is flowing from somewhere it shouldn’t be.
Inside the Home
Before going on a search, be sure to turn off your home’s water source. This will allow you to have an easier time when searching for your leak.
- Basement or Crawl Space
Begin in the lowest level of your home. All water is affected by gravity; therefore, if you leak, the basement or crawl space will be a good indicator. Look for leaking pipes or water that has pooled on the ground. Because your water is turned off, there shouldn’t be any water flowing through the pipes. Listen for any running water, and if you hear any, attempt to track where the pipe goes.
- Main Levels
Walk through the rooms located on your main and upper levels. Be on the lookout for leaking pipes under the sink and wet or stained carpet, walls, and ceilings. Also check for the dripping faucets (most of the time, this is an easy fix as the faucet probably just needs a new washer). Lastly, go check out your water heater. A majority of the time, the pressure relief valve allows the heater to drain water when the pressure becomes too large. Without touching your relief valve, listen for flowing water through the connected hoses or see if water is flowing out of the end of the hose. Do NOT attempt to fix water heaters and call in the professionals to get the job done.
Does it sound like your toilet is running long after a flush? This is a large indicator that the float may be off, which causes dripping or running water into the overflow tube. If water is dripping out of the fill valve, it may need a new screw, or the screw may be loose. Another way to test the toilet for a leak is by placing a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Do not flush! If you come back after about an hour and the food coloring has made it into the bowl, there is a leak.
- Other Areas
Check behind and under all appliances to see if there is moisture build-up. Examine the flooring around all of the appliances that use water (toilets, bathtubs, wash machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators) to see if it’s warped or spongy in spots. Examine walls and ceilings in areas/rooms that are located directly under bathrooms. Stains in these areas, and bubbling or peeling paint or wallpaper, indicate that there is a leak somewhere in the pipes near that area.
The best way to narrow down the toilet part that is causing the leak would be to turn off the water supply at the toilet’s base. Then, draw a line on the tank at the water level. Wait an hour again and if the water level drops below the line you drew, the problem is most likely the flush valve or flapper. If the level remains the same, there is an issue with the refill valve or float.
Plumbing Nerds can help you locate and repair water leaks.
If you already have damage or if you are suspicious of a leak, call Plumbing Nerds at (239) 893-9443 or send us a message through our website. We can evaluate the area and locate/ fix the leak before any more damage occurs.