Everything You Need to Know About Water Leaks
A water leak can be a household catastrophe. Water can quickly destroy ceilings, flooring, and furniture, and, if left unchecked, can create dangerous mold and mildew growth. The diagnosis and repair of the leak, which may include replacing the pipes, can be costly enough, but repairing the damage a water leak leaves behind is the real money pit.
Leaks can spring up unexpectedly in all sorts of places, but that’s not to say that there’s no way to prevent them. There are a few plumbing best practices homeowners can do to prevent the most common water leaks. Find these tips below, as well as what causes leaks and how they can be repaired.
How to Handle Water Leak Repair
A water leak happens when water is able to breach your home’s pipes or plumbing fixtures. These breaches can appear as slow, steady drips, which often go unnoticed or ignored, or as great gushes of water causing a flood.
Water leaks can happen almost anywhere in your home: under sinks, under toilets, from pipes inside the walls or ceiling, in the drain lines in your basement or under your house, and even from outdoor spigots.
After discovering a leak, turn off the water supply to that area to prevent any more damage or water loss. Often, this can be done with valves underneath the fixture, or you may have to shut off the water supply to the house.
Some minor leaks can be repaired by the homeowner, if it requires simply tightening or replacing a fitting, for example. Other times, it is best to hire a professional plumber, who will know the most suitable way to repair the leak. A plumber may use a saw or tubing cutter to remove old pipes, slip joint pliers or wrenches to tighten fittings, and adhesives and sealants to seal fittings where appropriate. Some water leaks can be difficult to find, and a plumber will be able to use water meters to locate the source.
What Causes Water Leaks?
Most household leaks can be easily resolved by a professional. Here are some of the most common causes of water leaks:
- Poor Quality Welding or Sealant: Pipes that have been poorly assembled are most likely to leak at the joints and fittings.
- Age: Old pipes are susceptible to corrosion and cracks.
- Loose or Faulty Fixtures: Leaking water fixtures indicate they need adjustment or replacement.
- Broken or Worn Seals: Water wears on seals over time, causing leaks.
- High Water Pressure: Too much water pressure will tax the plumbing system, and water will look for any way out.
- Extreme Fluctuations in Temperature: Freezing temperatures can cause pipes to burst. Extreme heat, too, can lead to leaks in various ways.
Tips for Preventing Water Leaks
The first line of defense in the battle against leaks begins with the homeowner. Here are ten steps you can take to prevent water leaks in your home:
- Clean the drains. Clogs cause water to back up, leading to leaks.
- Check that fittings and fixtures are tight and sealed properly, and look for any wear and tear.
- Watch for symptoms of a slow leak, including rust, scale buildup, mold, and mildew. Sagging or brown spots on the ceiling, warped flooring or paneling, and discoloration all indicate a leak.
- Listen for running water. Appliances and fixtures that won’t turn off when they should, or run intermittently, could have a leak.
- Before winter in cold climates, outdoor hydrants should be shut off, drained, and insulated to prevent pipe bursting.
- Make sure your water pipes are hung correctly. Pipes and fittings are weakened by bending and swaying.
- Avoid cross-threading pipes (tightening them against the screw grain). Make sure fittings are aligned correctly.
- Follow maintenance manuals that come with each fixture and appliance; if one did not come with it, look for one online.
- Examine your water bill. A sudden spike in your water expenditure could be the result of a leak.
- Have your plumbing system inspected annually. Catching problems before they cause costly damage will save you heartache later on.
For Help With Water Leaks, Call Allens Plumbing
Allens Plumbing has over 35 years of experience with plumbing solutions in Maui and Kahului, Hawaii. Allen’s Plumbing does drain cleaning, pipe repair, sewer renovation, water heater installation, and more. If water flows through it, Allen’s Plumbing pros do it.