A Guide to Detecting Leaks in Your Home
As a homeowner, the investment you’ve made in your home is probably the biggest financial commitment of your life. More importantly, you want a clean, safe, and secure living space for everyone under your roof. Because we know what your home means to you, here are some tips to help you spot leaks in your pipes before the damage goes too far.
9 Warning Signs of Leaky Pipes
Leaky pipes are a problem that every homeowner will experience given enough time, and while there are plenty of warning signs to watch out for, they will sometimes mean damage to your home and belongings. Most of these signs are only an annoyance, but some of the consequences of leaky pipes can be expensive and labor intensive to repair. What’s more, the worst of these signs can even pose serious health risks and endanger the structural integrity of your home.
- Utility Bill Spikes
Spikes in your water/utility bill are one of the first signs of a leak that you should be able to spot. You should be able to notice even a small difference in the size of your water bill, and unless you’ve had company for a few weeks, these spikes almost invariably mean a hidden leak. If your water consumption has remained at normal levels, the size of the spike in your bill will serve as a clue to the severity of the leak.
- Low Water Pressure
Another early sign of trouble, loss of water pressure should coincide with a larger bill. There are a number of conditions that can cause low water pressure, and all of them have to do with your plumbing- with the exception of your water pump. Check your PRV valves, water pump, and if that doesn’t fix it, start inspecting pipes
- Water Damage
Water damaged walls, floors, and belongings: Hopefully higher bills and loss of pressure will alert you to your leaking pipe problem before this develops. The smell of wet material or mildew may be your first indicator of this serious threat to your home. The one bright side to this trouble indicator is that you will have a better idea of where the leak is located. Wet walls and floors are a serious warning sign, and should be attended to immediately as it will quickly lead to much bigger problems.
- Structural Damage
Water damage can weaken structural elements, and make your home more attractive to termites and other pests that cause structural problems. Rodents, wood bees, and many other types of pests that can damage load bearing structures in your home will be attracted to standing or accumulated water and the conditions it creates.
- Collapsed Pipes
This problem is likely to alert you by knocking sounds and audible running water coming from inside your walls. Many people mistake these sounds for ordinary house sounds. The sound of a building settling usually sound like a creaky boat- knocking or flushing sounds, on the other hand, should be investigated.
- Flooded Basement
One of the clearest signs of leaks or broken pipes, a flooded basement can mean serious trouble, especially if the water threatens to damage your furnace or electrical boxes. First of all, do not touch or step in the water as it could be electrified. Have a professional tend to it immediately.
- Damage to the Yard
Flooded spots around the perimeter of your home are usually a clear sign of leaky pipes. Damage to your yard can be annoying, but it can also help you to pinpoint the leak. Moist soil is especially attractive to pests and should be dealt with quickly.
- Mold and Mildew
Arguably the most dangerous sign of water leaks. By the time you notice mold and mildew, it’s probably widespread within your walls. Mold can also pose a serious threat to your respiratory health, and indicates that immediate and serious repairs are in order.
- Termite Activity
Termites can live in your walls dormant for long periods of time. If a dormant colony comes into contact with water, it will become active. They may burrow down out of a ceiling or the sawdust-like leavings they produce may start trickling out of vents and gaps.
It may be difficult to see the bright side of these issues, there is at least some reason to appreciate these early warning signs. These precursors to serious damage can help you to avoid major repair work and even dangerous mold and structural damage. Whatever the trouble sign is, you can be sure that professional attention is required. When you spot a sign that a pipe is leaking, that’s your chance to nip it in the bud and have the leaks repaired before more expensive and potentially dangerous damage has a chance to develop.