Plumbing Leaks, What Is It Really Costing You?
Are dripping faucets or leaking showers plaguing your home? Although this seems like a really simple issue that won’t cause any real harm, it might be a sign of worse water leakages somewhere in your house. Even the smallest plumbing leaks could end up costing you a lot of money! Not only will your water bill reflect the wasted water, but you might have to repair or replace plumbing, flooring, wall sections, or other parts of your home depending on where the leak occurs and how long it has been ongoing. The total costs of this kind of damage can be crippling, but it is avoidable.
TYPES OF PLUMBING LEAKS AND DAMAGES
The problem with plumbing leaks is that it doesn’t just leak out of the end of a faucet or spigot. There are so many places it can leak from, but they are mostly classified into three categories: Wall leaks, yard leaks, and slab leaks. Damage can be either structural, mold related, or water bill related. Generally speaking all plumbing leaks will cause an increase to your bill because of wasted water that you still have to pay for, because it is going through your meter. The other two types of damage can be caused by any sort of leak as well, but for different reasons.
This category broadly includes all the plumbing that runs through your walls. The plumbing leaks can be within the walls themselves, from the end of the installed fixtures, or anywhere else that that your pipes run through the house walls.
Damages: Structural damage can be caused when water is leaking inside on onto a wall or floor of the home. For example, if the dishwasher in your kitchen has a leak it may soak into the flooring and cause warping or rotting. Mold can easily form if the leak is in an enclosed space, such as a pipe leaking on the inside of the home’s drywall.
Your garden spigots, water meter, and underground piping from the water main to your home can all become leaky. These plumbing leaks are called yard leaks.
Damages: Water leaking from outside may cause problems with the landscaping, any yard fixtures or ground-based structures, and even your driveway. The constantly running water may also pool up against different surfaces and create an issue with mold or mildew.
The worst category of plumbing leaks is called a slab leak. This covers all the plumbing under your foundation. These leaks are very serious and need to be repaired as soon as possible.
Damages: Structural damage from slab leaks is generally quite serious. Your foundation or walls could start to crack or shift because of the leaking water. Moisture can get under your carpets or flooring from a slab leak and create rotting and molding that will require a lot of work to fix.
WHAT CAUSES A PLUMBING LEAK
There is no single cause for your plumbing woes. It could be from changes in temperature, aging of seals, shifting and settling of the foundation, water pressure, or any number of other things.
DETECTING A PLUMBING LEAK
There’s only so much you can do to detect plumbing leaks. It’s easy to see leaking showers and dripping faucets, but how can you tell if there’s a leak behind a wall or in the slab?
Here’s a few tips:
1. Test with your meter. Turn off all water in your home and see if your meter is still running or not.
2. Listen for running water when the faucets and other fixtures are off.
3. Pay attention to your water pressure. If it’s low, there may be a leak somewhere.
4. Check occasionally for noticeable water leaks from fixtures.
5. If there is any moisture on the floor or walls you might want to be suspicious.
REPAIRING PLUMBING LEAKS
Plumbing is very complicated and cause be a huge hassle to fix by yourself, so you should consider calling a professional instead. Plumbers can do more than just fix leaky spigots, they can inspect your plumbing for hidden leaks and then plan the best way to repair the leak without disrupting your home too much. Additionally, The older your pipes are the more likely you will experience leaks. Once plumbing leaks starts occurring it can be a constant problem. Homes with problematic copper & galvanized pipe work, may benefit from a complete or partial re-pipe. See the article “Should I Replace the Plumbing Pipes in My Home?” for more information. Professionals have a lot of knowledge and experience to draw from, therefore it could really be worth the money to pick up the phone as soon as you think there might be a plumbing leak in your home!