Hidden Leaks – Today’s Leak… Tomorrow’s Flood?

Hidden leaks from leaky plumbing fixtures and pipes can be much more than a nuisance…if not dealt with swiftly and thoroughly, you could be facing major water-related damage.

Leaky faucets and shower heads? Piece o’ cake, right? After all, you can see them, hear them and, very often, fix them yourself…before the constant dripping drives you plumb crazy, that is.
But what about those plumbing leaks that aren’t so easy to spot? Water leaks can happen anywhere in your home. Here are some of the more common occurrences, and the probable cause behind each…from Pat Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning:

  • Refrigerator– If you have a built-in icemaker, you have a built-in potential floor mess! In fact, the wet spots you see on the floor might indicate a crimped icemaker line, and if it’s crimped, it’s just waiting to burst. Also, anytime you move your refrigerator to clean behind it or for any reason at all, check for water. If you find any, remember this: the smaller the water accumulation, the more damaging the problem can be. Slow, steady leaks can eventually rot your wood floor, while big, messy leaks are easier to detect and solve before serious damage ensues.
  • Toilets– Ever seen those hanging bowl deodorants? Well, don’t buy them. They’re prone to slipping and lodging deep in your plumbing system, and can block the line outright or give grease and other debris something to cling to. Also, certain chlorine tablet cleaners may corrode internal components of the toilet and void the manufacturer’s warranty. The added chlorine accelerates the deterioration of the internal components of the toilet. Also with toilets, here’s another truism: the water you don’t see is the water that can hurt you. Small leaks can head straight to your sub-flooring and, over time, rot the wood and ruin the flooring. If you see a grayish stain in the vinyl flooring around your toilet that won’t come out it is probably a below-the-surface leak. Also if the toilet moves back and forth or side to side, even a little, the wax ring seal of the toilet is compromised and is likely to seep.
  • Water Heater– The telltale sign? Once again, wet spots on the floor. Probable cause? Internal rust and hard water damage. Fact is, most water heaters are designed to last a maximum of 10 years. So check yours often, drain it yearly, and make sure there’s a floor drain beneath it. Also, new water heaters include a safety valve, one that is normally closed. There’s a pipe attached to the valve that usually discharges to the floor. If water is leaking from the valve or pipe, the probable cause is a failed safety valve…something you should absolutely replace immediately.

One final bit of advice. Every now and then look for hidden leaks. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, and don’t flush your toilets for at least one hour. Next, record the water meter reading. If the flow indicator (rotating button) is spinning or the meter reading changes while no water is being used, there’s an excellent chance a water leak is lurking somewhere within your home.

Ultimately, the best way to fix a leak is to find hidden leaks before the damage occurs! An excellent way to accomplish that is with a whole-home plumbing checkup. To schedule yours, call us today at 785-478-0188.

Thanks for reading!
-Pat
Pat Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Topeka