Get Your Pipes in Shape
Has your water bill been slowly increasing over the past couple of months? If you haven’t been watering the lawn or filling up a swimming pool, you could be dealing with a leaking water pipe. This leaves two questions. Where is that leaking pipe and how quickly can you get a pipe leak repair?
It could simply be that your water bill rates have increased, but it’s worth checking for a leak, right? Before you call the water department and complain about your bill, you need to make sure the problem isn’t on your end. If it is a leak, the quicker you find it and get it fixed the better, both financially and for the sake of your home.
Here are some subtle visual indicators that can help if you’re trying to figure out how to detect leaking pipes:
- Water stains on ceilings, floors, and walls
- Wet areas on the floor and walls
- Mildew and mold along the outside of the shower and bathtub
- Cracks in the foundation
- Musty odors of mildew and mold
- An unexplained increase in cost and usage on the monthly water bill
- Sounds of water running
How do I stop my pipes from leaking?
So – how to fix leaking pipes. This can be a challenge no matter how much DIY experience you’ve got. But if you have a water pipe leak, repairing it is a “must do” – not a “when I get around to it” thing. So, what’s the big hurry? Is there a reason why leaking taps and pipes should be repaired sooner rather than later?
Yes, there is a reason why any size of water pipe leak repair is urgent! If you leave a water pipe leaking, the amount of damage it can cause may be devastating to both your budget and your home. Even a seemingly minor leaking water pipe can cause structural damage. So, along with the cost of the pipe leak repair, you could also end up needing to repair or replace your ceilings, flooring, and walls.
There are many different ways to take care of water pipe leak repairs. Often, you can use epoxy plumber putty and/or pipe clamps for a temporary fix. But first, you need to know the location of the pipe leak, as repairs differ for each one. Read on as we answer a few more questions on different types of leaks and their locations.
How do you tell if pipes are leaking behind a wall?
You may be able to recognize you need pipe leak repair behind a wall with these common indicators:
- A musty odor in a certain area of the house
- Mildew or mold on the baseboard and wall
- Water stains on the wall
- Paint or wallpaper bubbling and peeling
- Walls warping
- Ceiling and floor buckling
How do I know if my pipes are leaking under my floor?
For a home on a foundation, this could be a slab leak. This is an ASAP repair as not only is this breeding mildew and mold as it leaks, but it is also creating serious damage to the foundation, which will affect the floors, walls, and more until a pipe leak repair is completed. So, how do you know if there is a slab leak?
- Sounds of Running Water: If there aren’t any water fixtures turned on inside or outside of your house and you’re hearing running water, it is most likely under the foundation of your home.
- Wet Areas on the Floor: Pinpoint where you’re hearing water running and then check the floor in that area for damp or wet spots; you may even find puddles of water. You could also feel a warm spot on the floor. These are often signs of a pipe leak in the slab.
- Higher Water Bill: If your water bill has gradually increased or had a sharp increase and your water usage hasn’t changed, this could indicate a water leak in the floor or other parts of your home.
- Buckling or Cracking Foundation: A slab leak can damage the foundation so that it begins to buckle or crack. You may notice cracks in the walls, the doors not closing or opening right, or doors staying opened/closed. The same can happen with your windows. You may even feel “soft” spots on the floor.
- Damp or Moldy Carpeting: When a water pipe leak repair is needed in the slab, the foundation will become saturated with moisture over time. That dampness will cause mildew and mold under your carpeting, in which case you’ll end up with a musty odor throughout your home that carpet freshener can’t cover up. You then have a health hazard in your home, as well.
- Cracking Garage Floor: If the garage is attached to your home, a slab leak will start showing itself there too. In fact, if the slab leak is at the water heater in the garage, it may show up there before appearing anywhere else in your house with cracked flooring.
- Low Water Pressure: If you have noticed a drop in the water pressure while bathing, showering, washing dishes, or doing laundry and there isn’t any running water in other parts of the house, you may have a pipe leak. Repairs are needed pronto.
How do I know if my underground pipes are leaking?
The signs we have mentioned here are typical indicators of water leaks, but they aren’t always there. Sometimes the signs you need pipe leak repairs are more difficult to find, like those underground. The following steps can often help make that determination:
- Turn all faucets or water-using appliances off, both inside and outside.
- Get the reading off the water meter.
- After two to three hours, check the water meter reading.
- If the water meter shows any increase, you likely have a water leak.
What causes leaking pipes?
Here are seven common causes of water pipe leaks:
- Appliance Seals: These are one of the best pipe leaks you could have because the repair is simple – replace the seals to the appliance! This can happen over time as the appliance ages, the seals age, and wear and tear weaken them.
- Clogged Drain Lines: Clogged drains are always inconvenient, but a severe clog can cause the drain to overflow or worse, burst your pipes. Don’t take slow drains too lightly!
- Corroded Pipes: As pipes age, they begin to corrode and may even develop rust, which will start eating away at the pipes. A visual check of the pipes in your home can help you catch this kind of issue before a pipe bursts. Replace the rusting pipe yourself or call a plumber. A professional inspection of your home’s plumbing is never a bad idea if you suspect corrosion.
- Pipe Connections and Joint Damage: Water pipe connections are one of the weakest parts of a plumbing system, yet they are necessary. Over time, those joints will start to deteriorate and can even leak. Unfortunately, you won’t always notice a leaking pipe joint, but sometimes you can hear a banging sound while running hot water due to those weakened plumbing joints being under pressure. A professional plumbing inspection is recommended in this situation.
- Water Pressure: While you may enjoy having nice, high water pressure as you bathe or wash dishes, it could be damaging the water pipes by putting them under strain. Plumbing fixtures and water pipes are designed to withstand a certain max in water pressure. Going beyond that can cause them to wear out faster.
- Tree Roots: Underground leaks are often caused by tree roots – the biggest enemy of water pipes. Does your yard have wet patches without any rain? How about sinkholes? Call a plumber and they can do a camera inspection of your underground plumbing to determine if it is tree roots or simply a water line that’s busted due to age.
- Sudden Temperature Changes: This is common in the winter when the ground freezes up and the plumbing going into your home begins to freeze. Water pipes contract and expand with temperature changes, and that can cause them to break, burst, and crack.
In Closing – Financial Help?
As a homeowner, you know you’ll have unexpected expenses, including pipe leak repairs. So, does insurance cover leaking pipes? Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover water pipe leaks and the water damage caused because of an accident or a sudden, unexpected event. This includes a water pipe that has burst with no obvious warning. Any subsequent damage it causes is also typically covered under a homeowner’s insurance policy.
Do note that if you have a water pipe leak that causes gradual water damage over time, this will not be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. This is especially true if there were obvious signs that you had a leak. It is always best to review your own policy and question your agent about the coverage so you know exactly what kind of help you can receive paying for your water pipe leak repairs.