Leaky pipes represent a danger to any household or any other type of property. Think about it: the plumbing in any home is an extremely complicated system involving dozens or hundreds of pipes, and at least as many connections.. Any pipe or any connection could potentially become loose or broken, and that’s going to allow water to start leaking out. This can be a major problem! Water leak repair can’t be put off, or else you could be looking at significant damage to your home.
In this article, we’re going to talk about why water leaks are so pernicious and give you some tips on how to find – and hopefully fix – various common leaks around the house.
I. The Dangers of Water Leaks
A lot of people don’t realize just how much damage can be done by water leaks, even small ones. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in actuality, water can quickly do a lot of damage to the home. Worse, this damage can often be hidden in the walls or otherwise hard to detect.
The biggest single problem is mold. Mold can start growing in a damp environment in as little as 24-48 hours, and then quickly start spreading around the area. Even at best, mold is unpleasant and smells bad. At worst, some types of mold – such as black mold – are outright toxic and can be harmful to your family or pets.
Once mold takes root, it can be extremely difficult to remove. The best policy is to prevent it from happening at all, which means staying on top of pipe leaks.
2. Internal damage
The other big problem with water leaks is that they’ll break down almost anything they come into contact with. Leaks under your sink can harm your floor tiles. Leaks in upper levels can damage your ceilings. Leaks in the walls can break down the drywall, and insulation, or even start weakening wooden structural supports.
The longer you go without water leak repair, the worse the damage becomes.
3. Wasted water
Also, don’t forget, you’re paying for all that water that is damaging your home. Water waste is a big problem in the home and across the country. Well-maintained pipes keep your water bills low and help stave off water shortages.
II. Finding Water Leaks Around the Home
So where are you most likely to find leaks, and what can you do about them?
Since toilets hold a lot of water, they’re particularly prone to leaks. Some of the most common areas that cause problems include:
- The flush valve flapper and float. If your toilet’s internal float and fill valve aren’t properly sealing when the tank is full, it will keep sending water into the bowl. The good news is that this won’t cause damage, but it can waste a lot of water. Fortunately, floats are designed to be adjustable, so you can usually twiddle with it until it’s shutting off properly again.
- Fill valve. The other common internal toilet problem is the fill valve not working properly or causing water to continue pouring out of the top. In some cases, this can overflow onto your floors! Typically, a bad fill valve just needs to be replaced.
2. Showers and bathtubs
Your shower/tub also sees a lot of water flowing through, which creates a lot of opportunities for leaks and spills. For example:
- Degraded grout/caulk. Your shower/tub rely on the grout to create seals around the bottom of the washing space. If this has worn down, water may make its way onto the bathroom floor whenever you wash. Fortunately, grout and caulk are easy to replace.
- Valve issues. The valves that control your hot and cold water may break down over time. This is bad since they often leak into the walls. If you ever turn on your shower and feel like the water pressure isn’t as high as it should be, without pressure problems in other places, call in an experienced plumber.
3. Faucets and sinks
Whether in your bathroom, kitchen, or workroom, faucets, and sinks can be very prone to leaks. At least they’re typically small leaks.
There are two common issues here:
- Broken O-rings. Your sink uses O-rings as seals where the faucet connects to the sink, and often as part of the drain. If these have become loosened or cracked, they’ll start letting water out. Replacing them is easy, though, as long as you get the right-sized replacement ring.
- Loose connections. If there’s a water leak underneath the sink, it’s usually caused by the pipe connections coming loose. Anyone can fix this themselves. Often it can be done by hand, although using a wrench to tighten the connections will provide better results.
4. Leaks inside the walls
So, what if it’s a leak that you can’t immediately see or get to? These are some of the most common signs of leaks in the walls or otherwise out of sight.
- Water stains suddenly appear on walls or ceiling materials.
- Damp spots, especially near the floorboards, with no clear cause.
- Gurgling or dripping sounds you can’t track down.
- Musty smells, suggesting mold or mildew are growing out of sight near where you smell them.
- A sudden increase in your water bills or water usage without any obvious reason.
If you suspect there’s a leak in your walls, floors, or ceiling, that’s not something you’ll be able to fix yourself. You’ll need quality plumbers who have the tools to track down the leaks, such as sending fiber optic cameras through the pipes to find the problem. This allows professionals to pinpoint the issue and perform water leak repair with a minimum of damage to your walls or other structures. In some cases (but not all) non-invasive leak repair is even possible.
Roto-Rooter California is your local plumbing expert! We’re highly experienced in all types of water leak repair and can also handle any other plumbing issues you might have – from clogged drains to septic tank maintenance.