Water leaks that occur in your home or business can go undetected, in many cases persisting until the problem is too big for you to handle on your own. Your best option is to contact your local plumber immediately in these scenarios, but the damage may have already been done by then. That is why education into best practices with your water system is crucial. Water can spread anywhere. Knowing what to look for is vital to prevent property damage and health concerns.
Finding the Source
When you think of an emergency leak, the mind often goes to visions of broken water mains and sewage backups, but in reality, a tiny pinhole in a pipe between your walls can cause significant enough damage to produce a harmful and dangerous situation. The persistent spray can warp wood, cause mold growth, and crumbling drywall. Locating the leak source can be difficult, but it is vital to keep your structure safe.
Emergency Leak Repair
If you find you have an emergency leak, call your local plumber right away. If you know the source of the leak, turn off the water to that pipe or fitting. It will still leak for a few moments while the pressure bleeds off, but you will notice the trickle getting smaller and eventually stop if you closed the proper valve.
If you don’t know where the leak is coming from, a qualified local plumber should be able to find the water leak within short order. With more apparent areas like leaking toilets or under sinks, the work will be addressed and done with relative ease, but an emergency repair may require a section of the wall or ceiling to be removed. It might seem extreme, but this is the best way to produce a permanent fix. With the drywall extricated, the local plumber can address internal damage, including mold and stud warping.
Water Leak Detection
Water leaks threaten not only your home and your health, but also your wallet. Detecting a leak and fixing it is the best way to save money while saving your structure.
- Inspecting your walls and ceilings for discoloration
- Recognizing a musty smell that wasn’t there before
- Noticing your paint bubbling or wallpaper bulging
- You hear a dripping sound
- Watch your water bill. If it is higher than usual, you might have a leak.
- You see greener patches of grass in some places but not others. That indicates an underground leak.
- Your water appliances like the dishwasher or water heater are not functioning at their best efficiency.
As a home or business owner, being mindful of the signs is your best preventative measure against leaks. Purchasing a leak detector is also a wise decision. Place them near major water sources and keep them in working order.
Where Can Leaks Occur?
Leaks can occur anywhere there are water pipes, but a few areas tend to be the most common.
Leaking shower stalls
Most of the leaks in shower stalls are due to poor grouting, damaged tile, or defective shower stall installation. The pipes inside the stall walls can also leak, but it is more likely the stall itself is the culprit. Look for loose or missing grout, places where the putty or silicone caulk is pulling free of the booth at the wall or floor, and if the stall is tiled, look for any that are broken or cracked.
The two places toilets leak most is at the base and where the tank meets the bowl. It can also leak at the wall connectors, but that is rare and only happens if the connection is loosened or damaged. If the leak is at the base where the toilet meets the floor, the wax ring might need to be replaced. After, a new layer of silicone caulk should be applied to seal the base and marry it to the floor. If the tank is leaking, look for cracks or loose fittings. It might not be obvious how calling your local plumber is wise, lest you damage it further.
If your leak is from a pipe within the walls, this is an absolute giveaway. The baseboards are made of lighter, lower-density wood than the rest of the home and thus are prone to warping much more quickly. If they are pulling free, the gap between the baseboards and the walls will continue to grow as the warping and the water pressure continues to degrade the wood.
Broken tiles can be seen in your kitchen and bathroom areas or anywhere tile is present in mass. Even flooring tiles can give away a leak if the issue is severe enough. The tiles are under pressure, and they crack with the strain. The most likely spots are near your sinks, shower/bath area, and toilets; however anywhere with an interior pipe can be susceptible.
The most common mold in the grout and the mold that grows under your tile when it is cracked or broken is black mold. Black mold grows in warm, moist environments, especially if there are periods of darkness. It is awful for your health and can cause respiratory issues. Cleaning it properly or replacing moldy grout is your best course of action if you identify black mold has taken hold of your tiled areas. Many cleaners work against mold, but be careful with what you use, as some can damage the tile. Baking soda-based cleaners are the safest.