How to Detect Water Leaks

The Most Common Water Leaks, What Causes Them, and How to Detect Water Leaks Year Round

It’s time to learn more about common water leaks around your home: how to find them, what to do when you find them, and how to prevent water leaks from happening altogether. If you don’t already have leak detectors, we’ll also guide you to the best resources and how to know when to call your insurance provider or regional plumber to get professional help. We’ve all experienced water leaks from the endless dripping of a leaky faucet to the famous family story of a pipe bursting and causing water damage that moved everybody in with the in-laws. Big or small, water leaks cause tremendous problems and show up at the worst possible moments.  Water leaks are a huge pain in the neck, but with the right information, you’ll never worry about them again. Though the vast majority of water leakages can be handled by expert leak detection, learning how to identify a water leak and understand what is occurring can save you thousands of dollars in cleanup costs, and even give you the tools you need to address the most common water leaks yourself. Water damage is also the #1 source of losses for owners of offices, apartments, and other real estates facilities, so once you’ve found your water leak the best possible course of action is to fix it and set up a leak detection system that ensures you never have to hunt for water leaks again. Let’s take a look at a list of the most common water leaks, their causes, and how to detect water leaks year-round.

The Most Common Water Leaks

  1. Toilet Leaks
  2. Bathtub and Shower Leaks
  3. Sink and Faucet Leaks
  4. Drain Leaks
  5. Water Softener Leaks
  6. Pipe and Plumbing Leaks
  7. Pool Leaks
It’s important to note that water leaks are most prevalent wherever water flows inside your home or business. That means it is always a good idea to keep your eyes and ears tuned for water leaks when you’re using a bathroom, sink, air conditioner, water softener, or pool. In fact, even an outdoor water leak, like a sprinkler, can happen brazenly because of the pace of our lives and our forgetfulness to pay attention. One of the best ways to catch a water leak is to pay attention to your water bill. If it has increased beyond your average monthly cost, this is a sure sign that you are leaking water somewhere. But what causes water leaks?

Causes of Water Leaks

Corroding Pipes

Plumbing gets old and mold, rust, and time guarantee corroding pipes. Whenever you notice staining or warping on your externally exposed pipelines, there is a good indication you’re concealed pipes have the same. This is a great opportunity to schedule a plumber to examine the pipes and determine their sustainability. If your home or business is older, it’s very likely your plumbing is as old as the structure, so consider replacing pipelines that are essential and are already experiencing corrosion.

Leaking Pipe Joints

Over time, pipe joints can wear away, causing leakages. If you have loud pipes that make a ticking or banging sound, especially when you turn on the hot water, the possibilities are that your pipe joints are under substantial pressure. The most common place you can access these kinds of leaking pipes is under your sinks, and regularly checking the cabinetry underneath a sink is a great way to catch water leaks before they do massive damage. The difficulty here is that most pipe joints are out-of-sight and therefore out-of-mind. Don’t fret, we’ll cover the best way to avoid these pesky leaks, just read on.

A Broken Seal

When your home appliances were set up, the contractor put seals around all water connectors and many valves. If you see condensation on your home appliances or puddles near any appliance, you may have a broken seal that needs to be replaced. Sometimes this is easy enough to DIY, with a simple youtube search of “how to fix a _____ water leak.” There are thousands of do-it-yourself-ers who are constantly sharing their tricks for correctly sealing your water adapters

High Water Pressure

High water pressure or unequal pressure can stress your pipes. The majority of pipes and also faucets can only withstand up to a specific level of water pressure measured in Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI). Plumbers recommend 60 PSI for a healthy amount of water pressure in any home, and no higher than 80 PSI. Any extra pressure could create leakages. If you feel worried about your water pressure, have a professional action the stress.

Obstructed Lines

Obstructed drains are a primary cause of water leaks because they produce overflow or bursting pipes. For example, blockages in your toilet or garbage disposal line can lead to water damage or your heating and cooling system may get backed up. Perform semi-annual flushing of these essential through ways and you’ll be happy you did because you’ll prevent unnecessary clogs.

Loose Appliance Connectors

Sometimes the hose pipes that connect to appliances become loose, triggering water leaks. Usually, loosened water connectors happen because of shifting, like a washing machine hose that jumps around while it works. If you have a water port leakage, you might see water running straight from the supply line or developing pools around the appliance.

High Water Pressure

High water pressure or unequal pressure can stress your pipes. The majority of pipes and also faucets can only withstand up to a specific level of water pressure measured in Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI). Plumbers recommend 60 PSI for a healthy amount of water pressure in any home, and no higher than 80 PSI. Any extra pressure could create leakages. If you feel worried about your water pressure, have a professional action the stress.

Tree Roots

Another common water leak begins outdoors. Tree roots grow around (and through) water lines causing plumbing issues. If you discover sinkholes in your backyard, experience an abrupt drop in water pressure, or have older trees near your home, this is a great reason to get a plumbing professional to investigate.

How to Detect Water Leaks

Okay, now that you know what the most common water leaks are, and why they occur, let’s figure out how to implement a regular check of your home or business to ensure that you detect water leaks quickly and save yourself the hassle and cost of water damage.
  1. Watch Your Water Bill for Price Increases
  2. Learn to Check Your Water Meter
  3. Regularly Scan Your Property’s Walls
  4. Spot Check Your Sinks in the Kitchen, Laundry, and Bathroom
  5. Frequently Observe Tubs, Toilets, and Showers
  6. Pay Attention to New Sounds, Discoloration, and Smells
  7. Install Water Leak Detectors
 

1) Watch Your Water Bill For Prices Increases

According to the USGS, the average person uses 80-100 gallons of water in a day, which sounds like a lot, especially when you realize that much of that water is used flushing the toilet! This also means you can set a benchmark for you, your family, and your business for water usage. For a single individual that’s about 2400-3000 gallons per month. Now multiply that by how many people are in your household or business, or how many units your apartment complex has, and once you’ve got an average for the regular amount of water you use monthly, watch your water bill, like a hawk. When there are price increases because of your water bill it is the most likely indication that you have a water leak.

2) Learn to Check Your Water Meter

Checking your water meter is one way to definitively detect a water leak. Here’s how it works:
  • Switch off all water faucets in your home as well as the washing machine and dishwasher.
  • Check your water meter and make a note of the numbers you see.
  • After an hour, with the water faucets and appliances still off, recheck your water meter. If the numbers have altered, there’s a leakage somewhere.

Indoor Water Leak or Outdoor Water Leak

When your water meter shows that it has changed after an hour of keeping your water off, how do you know whether the water leak is indoor or outdoor? Great question.
  • Turn off the Shutoff Valve to your property’s primary water supply line. This is either situated in the basement cellar or a utility room where the water pipe runs into your property.
  • Once turned off, again check the water meter, and jot down the numbers.
  • After an hour, with the Shutoff Valve still off, recheck the water meter and if the numbers haven’t changed, the water leak is inside your home.
  • If you recheck the water meter and the numbers are different, the water leakage is in the external water line that runs into your house.

3) Regularly Scan Your Property’s Walls

Your property’s walls tell a story. Regularly scan your walls for mold and mildew or strange dips and bowing in the ceiling. Water damage will present itself on the walls and ceilings with discoloration, soft soggy spots, caving ceilings, and cracked paint. The power of observation is all you need, but it’s something you’ll need to plan to do regularly. Get in a routine of checking your walls and ceilings especially around or underneath bathrooms and appliances. With a consistent visual inspection, you’ll detect leaks before they get out of hand.  

4) Spot Check Your Sinks in the Kitchen, Laundry, and Bathroom

 

5) Frequently Observe Tubs, Toilets, and Showers

 

6) Pay Attention to New Sounds, Discoloration, and Smells

 

7) Install Water Leak Detectors