Most water leaks go unseen for months, wasting thousands of gallons of precious water during this period. Thankfully, early detection of a water leak can avert potential disaster and save you money. Identifying a leak can be difficult, but anyone can perform a few tests to help confirm the existence of a problem. Using tools available to most households, you too can detect leaks in your home’s plumbing. Here are some signs that you may have a leak and should consider contacting a plumber.
1. Check Your Water Meter
Your water meter keeps track of your household’s water usage, and as such, it is one of the best tools in your fight against leaks. To track a leak using your water meter, you’ll first have to turn off all the water in your home. Shut off all faucets, and ensure the dishwasher and washing machine are not running. Next, watch the meter and see if it begins to change. If it does, you likely have a fast-moving leak. Otherwise, wait two hours and recheck it if the meter doesn’t change immediately. Despite all the water being off, you may be dealing with a slower leak if it has changed. The leak could be anywhere after the meter or even underground. Remember that all piping after the meter is a homeowner’s responsibility.
2. Look at Your Usage
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends checking your winter water usage to determine if a leak occurs somewhere in your home. Why during winter? Your outdoor water usage is much lower and far more predictable during the cold months. This consistency allows you to assess how much water your household uses for things such as showers. For example, suppose a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons of water per month. In that case, there’s probably a serious leak problem somewhere in your plumbing system.
3. Monitor Your Bill
Unless there’s been a drastic change in how you use water recently, your water bill should remain within the same range month to month. If your bill is rising consistently, but your water use habits haven’t changed, a leak may be blamed. Gather some statements from the past few months and compare them to check for a steady increase.
Even if your plumbing fixtures are all working perfectly, you might still suffer a leak elsewhere in your home. Remember that some of your pipes may be underground, and detecting leaks in this part of your system can be extremely difficult. For example, a warm spot on the floor ( with under slab piping) or the sound of water running are some signs that you have leaks in areas obscured from view. Therefore, it’s best to have a professional plumber thoroughly check all the pipes before deciding that your home is free of leaks.
4. Grab Some Food Coloring
Toilets can account for up to 30 percent of your water use, so you should check to ensure they’re running correctly. To test for leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the color shows up in your bowl, you have a leak allowing water to flow from the tank to your drain without ever flushing the bowl.
5. Check Exterior Usage
Leaks don’t just happen inside the home; they occur outside. First, check your outside spigots by attaching a garden hose. If water seeps through the tap while the hose is running, replace the rubber hose gasket and ensure that all connections are tight. In addition, you should have a professional inspect your irrigation system regularly to catch any leaks early on. A system with even a minor leak could be wasting 6,300 gallons of water per month.
6. Use Common Sense
Regularly check in the back of cabinets and under basins for any signs of mold or foul smells that indicate a leak: prompt attention could save you thousands in repairs. Also, consider having a professional plumber make an annual inspection of your home to check for leaks or potential problems.
Be especially vigilant if your home is over 25 years old; your plumbing system may be on the declining side of its life expectancy. Inspect all accessible connections at the water heater, pumps, washing machine hoses, and valves for oxidation or discoloration – clear signs of a slow leak.
If you suspect a leak anywhere in your plumbing system, call Built With Freedom to repair it as soon as possible. But, please don’t wait until your home’s plumbing deteriorates further! Instead, call today and get your leaks fixed by our expert plumbers.
If you need help with your lines in the Colorado area, we recommend the quality service from our friends at Done Plumbing. Done has been the leading company in Aurora drain cleaning for years, and they can help you with all of your plumbing-related needs.