How to Spot the Signs of a Plumbing Leak
A plumbing leak is a homeowner’s nightmare due to the potential for it to cause serious water damage and lead to expensive repairs. Leaks can also allow toxic black mold to start growing in your home and potentially harm you and your family. These issues are why you should always stay alert and watch out for any signs that can indicate your plumbing is leaking, and here is what you need to know to ensure you can spot any of the potential signs of a leak.
Compare Your Monthly Water Bills
One of the easiest ways to determine if you have a plumbing leak is to compare your monthly water bills. Even a minor leak can result in hundreds of gallons of water being wasted every single day, while major leaks will often result in thousands of gallons wasted each day.
Your water bills should remain fairly consistent from month to month throughout each season. It is obviously normal for your bill to go up once you start watering your lawn and garden in the spring. However, each month should still be mostly the same all summer long. If you notice any sudden, unexplainable spike in your water bill from one month to the next, it is a fairly obvious indication that there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing system.
Check Your Water Meter
If you suspect your plumbing is leaking, a quick way to detect it is by using your water meter. Most meters will have a leak indicator that is designed for this purpose. The indicator is typically a red triangle or small dial that will spin whenever your water is running. Before checking the indicator, you will first want to make sure that there is no water running inside or outside. If the indicator spins when the water is off, it means that you have a fairly large leak.
Sometimes a minor leak won’t be enough for the indicator to spin, but you can still use your water meter to check for this as well. After making sure that all of the water is shut off, check the meter’s reading. Leave your water off for around an hour or two. Then, check the reading again. If the two readings aren’t exactly the same, it is a sure sign that there is a leak.
Listen for Running Water and Drips
Leaks inside your walls, underneath your basement floor, or foundation are often more difficult to spot at first. In some cases, you may be able to hear dripping coming from inside your walls or the sound of water running underneath the floor.
You can also check for leaks by listening when your water isn’t in use. When your plumbing isn’t in use, all of your water lines will remain full of standing water. If you ever hear the sound of water running through your pipes when all of your plumbing fixtures are shut off, it is another good indication that there is a leak somewhere nearby.
Be Alert for Any Decrease in Water Pressure
Drips and more minor leaks typically won’t have much of an effect on your water pressure, but larger leaks most definitely can. There are a variety of different reasons why you may experience a sudden decrease in water pressure, but the issue will usually resolve itself fairly quickly. If you ever notice that your water pressure suddenly decreases and stays low for more than a day or so, it is usually a good indication that you’re dealing with a leak.
If the leak isn’t all that big, you may only ever notice the decrease in water pressure when you’re using multiple fixtures or appliances at one time such as trying to shower and do laundry simultaneously. If you suddenly start experiencing this issue when it’s never been a problem before, you will definitely want to have your plumbing checked for leaks.
Look Out for Water Spots and Mold
Leaks inside your walls, ceilings, and floors will eventually start to produce some tell-tale signs. Yellow or brown spots or discoloration almost always indicate water damage, while green or black spots are a sure sign of mold. If your dishwasher, toilet, or shower drain is leaking, you will often notice that the floor around the fixture feels soft or spongy. Your flooring may also start to warp or buckle. You can also check for slab leaks or leaks underneath your foundation by feeling around for any warm spots on the floor as this also usually indicates that there is a large leak.
Monitor the Condition of Your Lawn
Leaks in the main water line leading to your house or in your sprinkler system are often much more difficult to spot. If the leak is minor, the only way you will likely know about it is by monitoring your water bills and your water meter. The biggest thing to look out for is if part of your yard is constantly wet or your lawn suddenly feels damp and spongy as these are signs of a serious leak.
You may also notice that part of your lawn is much lusher and greener than the rest. This usually indicates that it is getting more water due to a leak in your water line or sprinkler system, although it can also occur if there is a leak in your main sewer line.
Test for Toilet Leaks
If you ever hear your toilet running when it’s not in use, you will definitely want to test it to make sure it isn’t leaking. Water leaking out of the tank or base of the toilet is usually easy to spot since you will normally see standing water and discoloration in the surrounding area. However, water leaking from the tank into the bowl can be harder to spot and will often result in the toilet running to refill the tank every so often.
This issue occurs because the flapper that separates the tank from the bowl is worn out and not sealing properly. While this may not sound like a big deal, a leaky toilet flapper has the potential to waste several hundred gallons of water every day.
The easiest way to test for this type of leak is to take the cover off the tank and put a couple of drops of food coloring inside. Let the toilet sit unused for 15 to 20 minutes, and then check the water in the bowl. If the food coloring moved from the tank to the bowl, you will want to have the flapper replaced as soon as possible.
If you suspect that you have a plumbing leak, Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is ready to help. We specialize in leak detection and plumbing repairs as well as drain cleaning, sewer repairs, pipe replacement, and gas line services. Our team also works on almost all plumbing fixtures and appliances including water heaters, garbage disposals, and water treatment units. We also have a team of certified HVAC technicians for any of your heating or air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance needs. Contact Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today if you need any plumbing or HVAC service in Norcross or the Atlanta Metro area.