How Can You Tell Where a Water Leak is Coming From?
Water leaks are every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to hear water gushing out of where it shouldn’t be. And most of it going to areas you don’t want it to go.
These sorts of leaks allow you to stem the leak before it gets worse. Unfortunately, most cases of leaks are hidden and might have wreaked havoc on your home before it’s discovered and rectified. According to home insurance experts, non-weather-related water damage accounts for about 20% of property insurance losses.
Timely discovery of a leak can save you hundreds of dollars on your water meter and prevent possible structural damage and the costly renovation that follows.
Here are seven ways to know you have a water leak in your home.
1. Has Your Water Usage Increased Dramatically?
If you notice a drastic increase in your water usage that can’t be accounted for, such as visitors or new occupants, then you might have a leak happening somewhere in the building. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a family of four will use 400 gallons of H20 daily (12,000 gallons/month).
To track this, you can ask your water supplier for monthly usage statements. That way, you can check for any sharp increases in usage. Or, if you have a water storage tank, check it intermittently to see how fast water drains out of the tank.
2. Have You Noticed any Dark Spots on the Floors or the Yard?
Underground leaks are some of the most expensive plumbing repairs. The good thing is they give quite a simple sign – dark splotches on the floor.
Always be on the watch out for such signs on the walls or your floor tiles. If you have a yard, also check if there are areas that feel softer than others. That could be a sign of water pooling beneath the surface.
3. Have You Visually Inspected Your Home?
Mold, discolorations, unusual stains, and mildew are all signs of water leaks. You could also notice your wall or ceiling boards seem swollen. Water damage causes certain materials or paint to stretch, and when left unchecked, ultimately cave in.
Running a visual check now and then won’t take up much of your time. But it can save you thousands of dollars in renovation bills. Often, homeowners don’t notice a burst pipe or plumbing leak until it’s out of control. You don’t want your ceiling boards to cave in on you before discovering that you have a hidden water leak.
4. Have You checked Your Water Meter?
Asides from tracking your usage, your water meter is another quick hack for discovering a water leak in your plumbing. Here’s how you do this:
- First, switch off all the taps in your home. Turn off all appliances that use water, such as the washing machine and dishwasher.
- Next, check to see if your meter is still reading.
- If the meter’s dials are still reading, you probably have a leak that’s gushing out water.
- If the dials don’t read immediately, give it two hours and check again. Remember to keep all the water outlets and appliances switched off.
- If the dials moved within those two hours, then you have a slow leak.
At this point, you then need to trace the leak, as it could be anywhere.
5. Have You Checked Your Toilet Bowls?
Your toilets are some of the most common sources of leaks. Plus, it can be quite hard to notice, wasting hundreds of gallons of water and money in the process. Here’s how to check for a leaky toilet:
- Open the tank lid and pop in 2-3 drops of food coloring into the tank. You can also use the dye tab. One dye tab should do the trick.
- Give the coloring about 30 minutes to diffuse the water without flushing.
- If the color flows into the toilet bowl without any flushing, voila, you have a leak.
6. Have You Checked Your Faucets and Showerheads?
Just like your toilet bowls, your faucets and showerheads are also sources of leaks. They are used regularly, and the daily wear and tear mean you are likely to find leaks. Check to see if any water is dripping from the faucet or showerhead even though it’s been turned off.
Sometimes, it could be a threadbare rubber washer or something else that needs replacing.
7. Have You Checked Behind and Underneath Your Furniture?
If you live in an old house (over 20 years old), you should expect that your plumbing system might be at the end of its life expectancy. Make it a habit to check places such as behind your cabinets or underneath the furniture for signs of water leaks.
Prompt maintenance could save you thousands of dollars in repairs and structural work.
Are you in need of professional guidance?
If you suspect or notice a leak anywhere in your home, you should call a professional as soon as possible. Any unnecessary delay, and you could end up dealing with more than you bargained for in terms of repairs and damages.