Water leaks in homes occur more often than you think. Every homeowner experiences some form of plumbing leakage at some point, and most of the time, it happens without the homeowner’s knowledge. According to research, homeowners are six times more likely to experience water-related damage than fire damage and five times more likely than theft. Statistics also indicate that 10% of American homes have water leakages that waste at least 90 water gallons daily.
Some water leaks are quite obvious, such as freezing pipes that burst with time. Others like loose connections underneath floor plumbing lines are hidden. Therefore, a water leak can be a big nuisance and quite tricky to identify, costing you a lot of bucks to fix. Furthermore, even the smallest leak can lead to significant damage and high water bills. Below are some useful tips to help you detect water leaks in your residential property and how you can fix the problem.
1. Stethoscope Test
Carrying out a stethoscope test is among the easiest ways to identify water leaks. You can achieve this through vibrations when the water is running. Ensure that all your pipe fittings are securely closed before you perform this test. Place a metal screwdriver at the tip of your pipe while the other side is next to one of your ears. If some water is running through, you’ll hear some vibrations, which indicate a possible leak in the pipe. Contact your plumbing contractor immediately to identify the leak’s location and make the necessary replacement or repairs.
2. Check the Water Meter
The other way to determine if you are dealing with a water leak is by checking the water meter. Plumbing professionals place meters in various places. Check whether yours is in the basement, under the sink, or outdoors in a concrete box. Once you locate the meter, turn off the main valve. Also, remember to shut off all your faucets and ensure none of your appliances like washing machines and dishwashers are running.
Next, check your leak indicator on the meter to see if it’s moving at all. If it moves, you might be dealing with a fast-moving leak. However, if the leak indicator does not change instantly, give it an hour or two before checking again. If you notice some changes after this time, you may likely have a slower water leak. The leak could be anywhere underground or after your meter.
To determine whether the leak is outside or inside, turn off your main water valve completely and check your meter. If the water meter doesn’t change or stops moving, the leak is inside your house. However, if there’s a change in the readings or the leak indicator is still moving, you have a leak between the house and the water meter. If you fail to locate the leak’s location, contact your plumbing service immediately for assistance.
3. Check Your Toilet
The toilets are prime areas for interior leaking in many homes. The flappers of your toilets can become brittle with time, allowing some water to trickle down from the tanks to the toilet bowls. To check if there are some leaks in your toilets, get some food coloring and place several drops in the tanks of all the toilets in your house. If any of the tanks are leaking, some coloring will appear in the toilet bowl within several minutes. Call your plumber if you notice color in one of the bowls to replace the damaged flapper for you.
4. Monitor Your Water Bills
Your home’s water bill should remain with a constant range from one month to the other. If your water bills are increasing significantly, but your water usage habits have not changed, you might be dealing with a plumbing leak. Gather several bills from the last couple of months and analyze them to check if the increase is steady. Skyrocketing water bills indicate water leaks inside your house or underneath your home.
There are many pipes in your residential property, and identifying the source of water leaks can be challenging. Sometimes leaking pipes might be behind the walls or below the ground. That includes ceilings, concrete slabs, and basements. Determining the hidden pipes as the source of leaks is not always easy, but there is a way you can do it. Have a leak detection contractor inspect your plumbing system. This way, you will know the condition of your piping system and handle minor issues before they become major problems that require costly repairs or replacements.
5. Check the Outdoor Area
You can also identify water leaks by checking pipes, faucets, and other items outside your house. Check the condition of the faucet-like pipes known as bibbs. If any of them is actively dripping, you can fix the problem by replacing the washer within the handle assembly or tightening the nut that secures the faucet’s handle.
You can also check the condition of the garden accessories if you have any. These accessories include taps, hoses, fountains, water ornaments, and irrigation systems. Also, if you notice that a part of your yard is greener or grows faster than the rest, it could indicate the part where a buried plumbing line is leaking. Sometimes, you might even notice puddles on the ground’s surface if the leakage is severe. Even if you cannot see a fountain of water springing up from the ground, remember that small, consistent drips are still notably problematic.
6. Look for Leaking Clues
Paying attention to your plumbing system can save you a lot of money in repairs. To best detect water leaks in the bathroom, check for leaky showerheads, drains, and faucets. Also, check the under basins and the back of your cabinets for foul smells and signs of mold to ensure timely repairs.
Wall discolorations can also indicate leaks. Brownish and yellowish stains on your walls and ceilings are signs of water leaks from behind the wall. Additionally, bulging wallpapers and bubbling paint indicate wet wallboard, and the wallpaper or paint can no longer hold tightly. In other cases, you might also notice bulges in your wallboard that indicate more extensive water damage, leading to wallboard replacement.
Lastly, if you suspect leaks and live in an old home, the life expectancy of your plumbing system might be on the decline. Take advantage of modern technology, equipment, and experienced experts to conduct a thorough inspection. These professionals will identify the leaking spots and recommend repairs or replacements depending on the condition of your piping system.
Work With the Leak Detection Experts
Undiscovered leaks can lead to property damage and rising water bills. Sometimes water leaks can be pretty obvious, while others are more challenging to detect. The above tips can help you detect water leaks in your residential property, avoiding irreparable damage and high water bills. Contact our plumbing experts at Zest Plumbing & Drain if you suspect a leak in your Scottsdale, AZ, home. These professionals have the industry experience and high-tech equipment to locate your leak and fix it pretty fast, regardless of where it is.
Give us a call today at (480) 588-3710 if you have water leak problems or to schedule your service appointment