In the case of water leaks, what you don’t know can hurt your home. Since the 1990s, plumbing leaks have been identified as a top cause of foundation damage in Texas. Some leaks are obvious, but others are almost impossible to find without looking behind walls or under foundation slabs.
How to Find Water Leaks
How do you know if you have a leak? What are some warning signs of water damage? Fortunately, there are some things to look for to stop potential plumbing problems before they turn into a big headache.
Sources of Common Plumbing Problems
Leaks and moisture problems can be caused by damaged roofs, defective gutters, missing vapor barriers and problems with your home’s plumbing. Leaky fixtures and pipes are also common causes of water damage in residential areas. However, faulty pipes are more likely to cause serious damage. In extreme cases, leaking pipes erode soil under a home’s foundation and around supportive piers, which causes the entire structure to shift or crack. Shallow pipes buried in the frost zone are prone to stress from expansive soil and shrinkage. Even concrete drainage pipes can become cracked under certain circumstances. Sewer pipes can also be susceptible to damage, which can create health concerns, as well as other damage.
Aside from inflated water bills, plumbing leaks can cause a variety of issues, including health problems and structural damage. Peeling paint and waterlogged drywall are common fixed that need to be made in these situations. Floors and sub-floors may be damaged by prolonged contact with moisture. Mold growth is a well-known problem, but did you know that pests are also linked to water leaks? Subterranean termites require moisture to survive, and even a small leak can provide enough moisture to attract these dangerous pests and add to the other damage you might sustain.
Signs You Have a Water Leak
To avoid the hassle and expense of water damage, you’ll need to know the warning signs that you might have a leak. Here are some things to look for:
- A sudden or unexpected increase in your water bill. Since some plumbing problems can be hard to spot, the first sign that you may have a problem is if you notice a spike or unusual increase in your water usage. Since water use can fluctuate over the course of a year, compare your bill with the same month the year prior to see if something may be amiss.
- The presence of mold or mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in moist conditions. Look for dark spots on your ceiling or floor or pay extra attention to a musty odor that might indicate excess moisture.
- Damaged paint, wallpaper, flooring or walls. When moisture builds up inside your walls, it can lead to bubbling, cracking, sagging or warping. Water damage to floors can cause materials to become spongy or soft.
- Cracks in your foundation. Your foundation may develop cracks over time, as your house settles. However, a major leak can cause fissures which can cause serious damage and destabilize your home.
- Rust around your pipes or appliances. A water leak can lead to rust, discoloration and corrosion on and around your pipes.
How to Test for Water Leaks
If you don’t see any signs of a leak but want to make sure, there are a few other things you can do. Pinpointing the source of your problem can help a plumber isolate and correct parts which might need to be repaired or replaced. First, you can try running faucets continuously for five to 10 minutes. If there’s a leak, you might notice water accumulation or hear a dripping sound.
Another step you can take is to go to your water heater and write down the reading and time. Make sure not to run any water in or outside of your home for a few hours, and then take another reading of your meter. If the reading changes, you probably have a leak.
In other cases, investigative plumbing services and in-pipe cameras can help identify the source of hidden leaks that are blocked by walls or foundation slabs.
Avoid Costly Repairs by Enlisting Expert Help
When you suspect you may have a plumbing problem, don’t delay to take action. In mere minutes, a water leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage, sometimes making your home unlivable. When you have a plumbing problem, count on the licensed, experienced professionals at ABC Home & Commercial Services to take care of the issue so that you can get back to enjoying your home.