Whether you suspect you have a water leak or not, it pays to regularly check for them. Just a leaky toilet alone can drip away up to 200 gallons per day, costing the average homeowner in the neighborhood of $70 per month. But leaks can cost way more than that if you suffer water damage as a result. If you're not sure how to narrow down the culprit, here are tips for finding water leaks in and around your home and what to do about them.
Check the Numbers
The simplest way to start is by checking your water bill and usage. In fact, this could be the single reason you suspect a leak to begin with. If the numbers are creeping up, and you know for a fact that no one in your home has consumed more water, this is almost always a sure-fire sign of a leak. Another test is to turn off everything in your home that uses water: faucets, dishwashers, washing machines, and outdoor hoses and sprinkler systems. Check your water meter right away, then again after two hours. If the numbers have gone up, even by a gallon, you've got a leak.
Inspect the Meter Box
Look inside the meter box itself for water. If water is present, and it hasn't rained lately and you don't have any water sprinklers going, this could indicate a leak in the water supply line underground. What's happening is the water travels along the pipe and back to the meter box. These leaks require a professional repair.
Look at the Supply Line to the House
A common place for leaks is where the supply line actually enters the home. If you notice that the soil is suddenly wet or consistently damp, this could be a tell-tale sign of a leak, and it's time to call a plumber.
Check Your Toilets
At times, it's easy to tell when your toilet is leaking—the constant dripping or gurgling sounds are a dead giveaway. But occasionally, you won't hear a thing, and some further sleuthing is required. Place a few drops of food coloring in the upper tank and check back after a few minutes. If the food coloring made it to the bowl, you have your answer.
To fix, make sure the chain that's connected to the flapper isn't caught, preventing it from sealing correctly. If needed, replace the flapper altogether.
Test the Outdoor Hoses
If you spend time watering your plants in the spring and summer, you could have a leak coming from your hose and not even know it. To check for this, turn the hose on and inspect the connection for leaking or seeping. These types of leaks can usually be fixed by cleaning away any dirt and debris that's collected around the faucet threads and inhibiting a tight seal. Replace the rubber gasket in the hose if it is dry, brittle, or missing. If all else fails, it's time to replace that hose.
Inspect the Water Heater
Leaks from a water heater can come from several different places, and the location can make a big difference in a repair versus a replacement.
If you notice water pooling at the base, check the drain valve at the bottom. If it's wet, it probably just needs to be replaced. If it's dry, it's time to check the lines leading to the tank itself. If one of them is leaking, tightening the valves or applying some silicone tape could be all that's needed to fix the problem.
If you find that the leak isn't coming from either one of these places, your tank may have too much sediment built up, and it will need to be replaced by a qualified plumber.
Examine the Sinks
Leaks underneath the sink are generally easy to spot. Simply run your water and perform a visual inspection of the P-trap, noting any dripping. Gently tighten ring nuts as needed. If that fails to solve the problem, you may want to contact a professional plumber for advice and repairs.
For more tips, contact a company like All About Plumbing.
During the summer months, I enjoy taking care of my outdoor plants and flowers. Because I live in the southern United States, my vegetation needs water almost daily. Thankfully, I have a convenient outdoor faucet connected to my home. However, I recently endured some problems with this source of water. When I turned on the faucet, I was greeted with a forceful spray of water going in all directions. Before I could gather my senses and turn the water off, I resembled my dog after she jumps into a pool of water. To avoid the wet dog look in the future, I plan to hire a professional plumber to take care of my faulty faucet. On this blog, you will learn about the benefits of securing a reputable plumber to repair your problematic faucets.