Water is essential to a functioning home, but hidden leaks are common and can lead to expensive bills or even more costly repairs. Finding those hidden plumbing leaks in your home can be a frustrating and time-consuming task, but it is essential to identify and repair these leaks to prevent damage to your home and save money on your water bill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a plumbing leak too small to be conspicuous to residents can waste enough water over the course of a year to fill a backyard swimming pool!
Plumbing leaks can occur anywhere in your home, from the pipes under the sink to the pipes in the walls, and they can range from a small, slow leak to a major burst pipe. Some may be basic plumbing repairs that you can make yourself. For more complex or challenging plumbing problems, call the friendly pros at Kay Plumbing.
Read on for some steps you can take to help you find hidden plumbing leaks in your home.
1. Check your water meter: A simple way to determine if you have a hidden leak is to check your water meter. You can usually find your meter at the curb in front of your house. It’ll have a metal lid marked “water meter.” First, turn off all water-using appliances and fixtures in your home, including toilets, showers, faucets, sprinklers, and washing machines. Then, after locating and removing the meter’s lid, write down the meter reading. Wait for an hour and then check the reading again. If the meter reading has changed, it is an indication of a leak somewhere in your home. Some of our local cities, like Columbia, have been installing digital water meters that allow you to monitor your water usage with an app.
2. Listen for unusual sounds: Another way to find hidden plumbing leaks is to listen for unusual sounds. Do you hear water running? A dripping sound? Gurgling? If you can hear water, even when you know that all water-using appliances and fixtures are turned off, you may have a leak. Try to locate the sound and begin to inspect the area around it for indications of a water leak.
3. Check for damp spots inside and out: Leaks can also create damp spots on your walls, ceilings, or floors. These spots may appear as discoloration, warping, softness, or bulging. Leaks from buried pipes or sprinkler systems may create wet areas in your yard. If you see any of these signs, it is important to check for a leak. It’s also wise to give a sniff in these areas. The smell test can indicate possible mildew problems and lead to the leak source. If you have a crawlspace, it is wise to have a look under the house for any wet spots or pooling water.
4. Look under sinks: One of the most common places for plumbing leaks to occur is under sinks. Check for signs of leaks, such as water puddles, drips, or stains, around the pipes and connections. If you suspect a leak but don’t see the drip, leave a paper towel under the suspicious area and come back after a while to check for wet spots.
5. Inspect toilets: Toilets are another common source of plumbing leaks. To check for leaks in toilets, add a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the food coloring appears in the bowl within 15 minutes, it is an indication that you have a leak.
6. Check shower and bathtub: Shower and bathtub leaks can also be a common source of hidden plumbing leaks. Check for leaks around the showerhead and faucet, as well as around the drain. Also inspect the edges around your tub or shower stall, looking for cracks in caulking that may allow water to get underneath.
7. Examine the dishwasher and washing machine: Washing appliances have several hoses and connections that could leak. Look for water around your dishwasher and washing machine, and check the incoming and outgoing pipes and hoses. Look inside the machines to inspect the tubs for chips and cracks. If you’re able, be sure to check underneath and behind the machines as well.
8. Examine the water heater: The water heater can also be a source of leaks. Check for water puddles around the base of the water heater and inspect the pipes for signs of corrosion. Speaking of, when was the last time you had your water heater serviced?
9. Hire a professional plumber: If you are unable to find the source of the leak or if the leak requires repairs that you are not comfortable making, it is best to hire a professional plumber from Kay Plumbing. Our plumbers will have the tools and expertise needed to locate and repair the leak and keep the water where it belongs.
If you do find a plumbing leak inside or outside your home, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage and avoid wasting water. Left unaddressed, leaks can cost money, grow mold, and cause significant damage to your walls, floors, or your home’s structure.
Finding hidden plumbing leaks around your home can be a challenge, but it is essential to identify and repair these leaks to prevent damage to your home and save money on your water bill. By monitoring your water bill, checking your water meter, listening for unusual sounds, looking for damp spots inside and out, checking under sinks, inspecting toilets, checking shower and bathtub, and examining the hot water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine, you can help find those hidden plumbing leaks in your home and get them resolved quickly.
And you can always rely on the friendly professionals from Kay Plumbing to repair any plumbing problems and keep your water working for you!