Water leaks can cause a multitude of problems for your home whether you’re worried about bills, the environment or the integrity and effectiveness of your overall plumbing system. Even worse, these leaks are often hard to spot and can go on for quite some time before building into a problem that’s actually noticeable.
Once your leaks develop into something serious and noticeable, it may be too late to mitigate the damage. You could be facing serious water damage in your home alongside damage to your fixtures. All of that plus the cost of fixing the leak itself can add up fast, so it’s always best to catch leaks early. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to handle plumbing leaks DIY style. Learn how to find and fix plumbing leaks in your home.
Do You Have Any Leaks?
The first step in finding the leaks in your home is to determine whether or not you have any leaks to begin with. The best way to find out is by using your water meter. If you don’t know where your water meter is, your local municipal water service will be able to tell you, but it’s generally on the side of your house or under your sink.
First, make sure you aren’t using any water inside or outside your house. Once all the water is turned off, check your water meter’s leak indicator. Usually depicted as a small dial or wheel, the leak indicator will clearly tell you whether or not water is still flowing. If it’s moving, you have a leak.
To be doubly sure, you can always compare your water readings over time. Take note of the reading on the meter after you turn all of your water off, then wait an hour or two. If the reading is different after that time, you have a leak. You have to make sure not to use any water in the interim period, however, otherwise the different measurements can’t conclusively point to a leak.
Indoor or Outdoor Leaks?
After you’ve determined that your home has a water leak, you have to narrow down the possible areas in which it could be located. Broadly speaking, your leak is either going to be indoor or outdoor, and that difference is essential when it comes to how you approach fixing the leak.
To make this determination, you need to turn your water completely off. This can be done using the shut-off valve which is typically located in your garage or basement area. Once the water has been cut off at the source, go back to your water meter and check the leak indicator. If the indicator still shows that there’s a leak, your leak is on the outside and you’ll need to call a plumber. If the indicator isn’t moving, the leak is inside your house.
Finding an indoor leak can take some time considering all the possible culprits you have to deal with. From your shower to your sinks and toilets, leaks could be coming from all over the place. Testing each location for leaks is easy enough, but you have to remember to use your water meter to see if the leaks are fixed. Remember, it is possible to have multiple leaks at once.
While toilet leaks can be incredibly costly and waste hundreds of gallons of water, they’re among the easiest to spot. All you have to do is conduct a little test. Put some food coloring in the back of the toilet tank. Make sure you don’t flush and see if any of that color is in the toilet bowl after about half an hour. If it is, you have a leaky toilet.
Usually, the problem with a toilet is a faulty flapper. A flapper is the rubber bit at the bottom of your toilet tank that opens when you flush allowing the water to come through. Fortunately, you can replace your flapper easily with a new one that you can find at your local hardware store for a couple of bucks.
It’s common for people to have toilets that require one to jiggle the flush handle a bit to stop it from running. Many will live with that, but it’s actually quite easy to fix. All you have to do is adjust the nuts that secure the flush lever bar and chain to the toilet tank. If that doesn’t work or the components are damaged, you might need professional help.
These are among the easiest leaks to notice. If the handles on your sink are turned to the off position and you still have that steady drip of water coming from your faucet, you have a leak. In most cases, this is caused by a simple rubber washer that’s become worn over time. Replacing this is easy with the right tools. Just make sure you shut off the water to the sink first.
When you’re going to fix your faucet, before you get to work always make sure you plug the drain after shutting off the water. The last thing you want is a washer or screw rolling down the drain. Once everything is secure, go ahead and remove the handles to examine the rubber washers. Spotting the one that’s worn should be easy as signs of stress are typically pretty blatant. Worn washers will look frayed and thin while functional washers will still be largely intact and solid.
Other Water Leaks
Sinks and toilets are relatively easy to fix, but other water leaks can occur deep inside your home with no easy way to fix them on your own. There are, however, a few things you can do to spot those leaks and get something done before they get worse. It’s important to remember, though, that you’ll often only see the results of leaks rather than the source itself.
Keep an eye out for discoloration in your walls, ceilings and floors. In some cases, the location of the discoloration can help you discover the source of the leak. Water stains in your laundry room wall or ceiling below the upper floor bathroom can be very telling. Other times, the discoloration is more ambiguous, so make sure you have a professional check it out.
When To Call a Plumber
Being able to fix plumbing leaks in your own home is always nice, but sometimes you simply need the help of a professional. If you can’t find the source of a water stain or you’ve done everything you can, but your water meter is still showing a leak, you need to call a professional. You could have missed something, or the leak could be occurring underground. Whatever the case may be, professional plumbers will always be able to provide solutions provided you work with a company you can trust.
For plumbing services, you can always count on, Village Plumbing is happy to help. We have years of experience searching for leaks in all kinds of homes, and we have the skills and tools to fix them and have your plumbing system back in working order in no time. Contact us today for unmatched responsiveness and service.