Leaky pipes are common scenarios in the household. So common, in fact, that most homeowners’ radars only go off when the water bills arrive and they notice a sudden hike in charges or a patterned increase. Who can blame them? Some leaks are just invisible!
Luckily, there are a few telltale signs that’ll help your leak detection compass point north before the next billing comes.
Before Anything Else, Turn the Main Control Valve Off
First things first; make sure you’ve turned off the main control valve. This will help you check for leaks on the main service line. Pro tip: shut off the valve closest to your home. This way, if something goes wrong and it breaks, you can still use the street valve to shut the water supply off while calling for repair.
The Water Meter Test
The most common way of checking for leaks is using your water meter. After shutting off your water supply, you’ll have to read the meter and record it. Wait an hour or two to see if it changes. A change in the reading is a sure sign that there’s a leak somewhere in your home.
The next thing to do is to find out if the leak is inside or outside your home. Go to your basement or garage, turn off your home’s main valve, and then do the meter test again. If the meter continues to move, the leak is outside of your home; otherwise, the problem’s inside.
One of the increasingly popular hacks for leak detection is the use of food coloring in your toilet. Take the lid of the toilet tank off and pour in a few drops of food coloring. Leave it for 20 minutes and make sure no one uses that toilet while waiting. If the color bleeds into the toilet bowl, you’ve just found the culprit—or one of them the least.
Wall, Floor, or Ceiling Leaks
Sometimes you’ll discover leaks by tracing them back to the source. Wet floors, ceilings, and walls indicate water leaks in neighboring fixtures like tubs, faucets, and dishwashers. Moisture, cracks, or warped floors indicate possible leaks nearby, as well as wall and ceiling stains and peeling.
These “invisible” leaks are hard to locate, which is why it’s best to call in the professionals to confirm possible leaks and avoid further damage to your fixtures. It’s also best to address potential larger issues like wet outlets.
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Outside Water Consumption
Leaks don’t just happen inside homes; they can happen outside as well, making them all the more urgent. For instance, your spigots could already be leaking without your noticing. Attach a garden hose to it and run the water; if you see water seeping through, you’ve just found a potential leak.
To ensure there are no more possible leaks outside your home, consider calling the plumbing experts. Even minor leaks can use up to 6,300 gallons of water monthly, more so when you have an irrigation system.
Early leak detection is important; not just for the bills, but for safety reasons as well. To avoid potential damages in your wiring, flooring, and other fittings, you need to find them and fix them ASAP. And although DIY fixes are popular these days, common leaks can turn into disasters with the wrong tools or techniques. Get your regular plumbing checkups done to avoid major trouble and save hundreds—if not thousands—of bucks in the process.