Home Plumbing: Detecting and Fixing Leaks Like a Professional

November 22, 2023
Natalie Thorburn

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Imagine you're relaxing at home, and suddenly, you hear the ominous sound of dripping water or notice an inexplicable increase in your water bill. Leaks in your home's plumbing can cause significant damage if not addressed promptly. Let's take a closer look at the steps to leak detection, repair, and, when necessary, seek professional help for plumbing leaks.

Identifying the Source of the Leak

The Search Begins

The first step in dealing with a plumbing leak is locating its source. This can be tricky, as water can travel far from the actual leak point. Start by checking the most common culprits: faucets, showerheads, and the undersides of sinks. Look out for signs of dampness or any rusty or deteriorating parts. Don’t forget to inspect the pipes under your house or in the basement.

Listening for Leaks

Sometimes, the sound of a leak can guide you to its location. When it's quiet at night, listen carefully for dripping or running water sounds that could signal a hidden leak in the walls or floors. The walls can muffle the sound of a leak and floors, but at night, when the house is quieter and there are fewer distractions, the sound can be easier to spot.

DIY Leak Fixes

Fixing Faucet Drips

You can easily replace a worn-out washer or O-ring if your faucet drips. Turn off the water, take apart the faucet, and replace the damaged part. The washer or O-ring seals off the water supply in the faucet. Water escapes if it wears out or gets damaged, causing the dripping sound. Replace the damaged part, and you'll be good to go.

Repairing Toilet Leaks

Toilet leaks can waste a surprising amount of water. To check for a leak, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank and wait for about an hour. Your bowl may be leaking if the color appears. Typically, replacing the flapper or adjusting the floating mechanism solves the problem.

Patching Pipe Leaks

Small leaks in accessible pipes can be temporarily fixed with waterproof tape or a pipe clamp. For a more permanent solution, you may need to replace a section of the pipe. Remember, this can be complex and may require shutting off the main water supply and cutting and soldering pipes.

When to Call a Professional

Major Leaks and Water Damage

Call a professional plumber if you discover a major leak or significant water damage. They have the know-how and gear to promptly set things right, keeping your place safe from more damage. Professional plumbers also have the experience to identify the source of the leak and suggest the best course of action to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Leaks in Walls or Foundations

A leak in your walls, ceilings, or foundation is best left to the pros. If you try to fix it yourself, you can damage your house, which can be costly to fix. Professional plumbers have the skills and tools to find the source of a leak. With their expertise, plumbers can quickly fix the leak and ensure no further damage. If you want to save time and cash while dodging more damage, getting a plumber on the job is your best bet.

Recurring or Multiple Leaks

If leaks are a recurring problem in your home, or if you have multiple leaks, it could indicate a larger issue with your plumbing system. A professional plumber can diagnose and repair complex plumbing problems that go beyond simple leaks.

Preventing Future Leaks

Regular Maintenance

The most effective way to prevent leaks is through regular maintenance. Periodically inspect your plumbing for signs of wear and tear, and replace old or corroded pipes and fixtures. This should be done at least once a year and more often if you live in an area with hard water.

Water Pressure Check

High water pressure can cause pipes to burst, leading to leaks and other plumbing problems. Have a professional check your water pressure and install a pressure regulator if necessary. You can keep your water pressure at a safe level with a pressure regulator.

Be Mindful of Clogs

Clogs can lead to leaks by increasing the pressure in the pipes. Avoid pouring grease down the sink and use drain strainers to catch hair and other debris. Grease can solidify and clog the pipes, while hair and other debris can build up over time and create a blockage. When gunk builds up and blocks the pipes, water gets trapped, causing a pressure surge that can lead to cracks and leaks.

When plumbing leaks pop up, you've got options—from easy DIY fixes to calling in the pros for big jobs—so stay chill and tackle each drip strategically. Being alert and nipping leaks in the bud shields your house and cuts down on those pesky water bills. If you're unsure, always consult a professional so your plumbing stays in good shape.


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