Leak Alert! Addressing Small Leaks to Avoid Big Problems
The smallest leaks, if left unchecked, can cause major issues in your home. To preserve the integrity of your plumbing system and save you the trouble of costly repairs, deal with any leak immediately.
Problems Caused by Plumbing Leaks
Small water leaks may not seem like a big deal at first, but it will gradually become larger and cause serious and costly damage. No matter how imperceptible the leak, it has the potential to turn into major issues including:
- Property Damage
One of the biggest and costliest problems you can encounter if you have a plumbing leak in your home is damage to your property. Here is how a plumbing leak can cause property damage:
- Floors: Over time, water seeps into the subflooring, causing vinyl flooring and tiles to loosen. Puddle buildup also causes plywood subflooring to delaminate and rot.
- Walls: When wooden walls are exposed to plumbing leaks for a long time, it weakens and loses its integrity. Wall paint starts to peel or flake.
- Ceiling: it is a major concern if the leak occurs from the plumbing line above the ceiling. Since some electrical connections are located on the ceiling, it could be detrimental to the safety of the household members.
- Financial Loss
Flooding caused by plumbing leaks can lead to structural problems in your home if not addressed immediately. Depending on the severity of the damage, it could potentially cost you some hundred dollars at once.
- Health and Wellness Issues
Some damages caused by plumbing leaks are invisible to the eye. If water damage remains unaddressed for a long period, it can expose you and other household members to health risks including:
- Mould Growth – Moisture buildup encourages moulds to grow and thrive in wet surfaces. Mould exposure causes several health problems, including respiratory issues, skin allergy, and difficulty breathing.
- Contamination of Household Products – Germs and bacteria can enter through the small pipe leaks and contaminate food, drinks, and toiletries. Consumption of contaminated food and drinks can lead to gastrointestinal problems. These and contaminated toiletries must be thrown away.
- Water Waste
Leaks from damaged pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings are considered to be a huge source of water waste in Canada. An Alliance for Water Efficiency research showed that a typical home with an unaddressed water leak problem loses about 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water every year.
While some leak problems are evident, such as leaky water heaters and dripping faucets, others can go unnoticed for a period of time. Hidden leaks, such as faulty toilet flapper valves and cracked water supply pipes, can easily waste hundreds to thousands of gallons of water, resulting in a high water utility bill.
Take a look at the table provided below:
Water Service Line Leak
|Size of Hole||Amount of Water Wasted Per Day (in litres)||Cost of Water WastedPer Day|
Do You Have a Plumbing Leak?
Early detection is critical in protecting the structural integrity of your home, as well as the health of all the household members. However, tracing a plumbing leak can be a bit challenging, especially if it’s in a hard-to-reach location. For instance, a leaky pipe under the sink is easier to detect than leaks behind walls and above the ceiling.
Here are various ways to know if you have a water leak problem:
- Check the water metre. Checking your water metre helps you determine if you have a plumbing leak problem. Turn off all the faucet and switch off the dishwasher and washing machine. If the dial continues to move, then you likely have a fast-moving leak. If you do not notice any changes, wait for 2 to 3 hours and check the reading again. A slight change in the metre reading indicates a slower leak.
- Monitor your water bill. If there is a consistent increase in your water bill despite your regular water usage, it indicates a leakage. Compare previous bills to see if there is a steady increase. If you have not detected any leaks within your house, the problem may be located underground. Contact a professional plumber to perform a thorough inspection of your underground pipes.
- Use food colouring. Toilet accounts for about 30 percent of residential indoor water use; it is crucial to check that they are running properly. To check your toilet for leaks, add a few drops of food colouring to the toilet tank and wait for 10 to 15 minutes. If the water in the bowl changes in colour, it indicates your toilet has a leak problem as it allows the water from the tank to flow to the drain without flushing.
What You Can Do to Address the Problem
The old adage “better safe than sorry” is applicable when it comes to addressing plumbing leak problems. Early detection and solution can save you from costly plumbing emergencies.
Here are some ways that are essential in preventing and fixing small water leaks, saving you from expensive repairs:
- Dripping Tap – To identify what caused the problem, turn off the water supply line through an isolator valve or stopcock. Open up the tap and check the washer for any damage. Clean away debris buildup and replace damage washer with a new one. If you do not feel confident with DIY work, you can contact a professional handyman or plumber to do the job.
- Leaky Radiator – A water leak in the radiator could be caused by different factors, such as a leaking valve or valve spindle, corrosion, or pipe coupling. To fix a leaking radiator, it may require bleeding the radiator and refilling the heating system. Since there are different causes, it is a job best left to a licensed plumber.
- Leaking Toilet – A leaking toilet may be one of the nastiest plumbing issues you may encounter, but it can easily be remedied. If a leak is produced at the base of the toilet after flushing, it may be caused by a defective rubber seal or tee bolts that keep it in place. To fix the issue, turn off the valve and check if the toilet is positioned correctly. Prepare a replacement wax ring and use an adjustable wrench to unscrew and tighten the bolts. If the base of the toilet is not the problem, the leak may come from a different location. For instance, it could be caused by a crack in the bowl. In this case, replace the toilet bowl immediately to avoid floor damage and a potential accident.
- Leaking Water Pipe and Joint – Start by turning off the main water line supply and thoroughly dry the area where the leak is coming from. If the problem is caused by a damaged pipe joint, you have two options to fix the problem: remove and replace it or use a rubber or silicone repair tape. Sealing small plumbing leaks with epoxy is also an effective solution that will help you save water.
Plumbing leaks are a common household problem. No matter what type and how small the leak is, it could get serious if not addressed immediately. If you suspect a leak problem, locate the source immediately and turn off the water supply before undertaking repairs yourself.
You can also call a licensed plumber in King City who can provide 24/7 plumbing emergency services and fix whatever problem for good. Call Plumbing Authority Inc. at (647) 992-7473 or visit our contact us page to book an appointment.