How to Find a Leak in Your Home

Have you noticed your water bill has been unusually high lately? Are mysterious stains and smells appearing in your home? If so, you may have a water leak. If you think you might have a drip or a leak, it’s essential to check your home immediately. It may seem like a small leak in your water system, or a dripping faucet is no big deal, but even tiny leaks can cause big problems.iStock-500598328.jpgNot only does a leaky water pipe or a dripping faucet waste your water and drive up your bills, but it also has the potential to cause more severe damage elsewhere in your home. Leaks can occur for a few reasons and can appear at any point in your water lines. It’s critical to fix a leak in your home as soon as possible before it causes further damage. Even small faucet leaks can waste gallons of water over a short time. 

Finding the Leak (or Leaks) in Your Water System

The first step to fixing a leak in your home is to find the source. But how exactly do you go about finding a leak? The first indicator is an abnormally high water bill, but that won't tell you where the leak is. Depending on how much your bill jumps, it may give you some idea of how bad the leak is. 

First, shut off your water supply lines. Make sure the washing machine and dishwasher are off and none of the faucets in your home are open. Once you’ve done this, check the water meter. Write down the numbers, then wait for a while and recheck it. If they’ve changed, then you’ve got a problem on your hands.

Checking your water meter isn’t the only way to check for leaks, though. If you suspect your toilet is leaking, you can place a few drops of food coloring into the tank. Don’t flush it for 10-20 minutes, then check the bowl. If the color migrates from the tank to the bowl, it means that your toilet is running too much or leaking.  You can try adjusting the float and refill water line inside the tank, but you may need to get all-new toilet guts. 

If you suspect the leak may be in the pipes, that could be a bit harder to find. Once you know that you have a leak in the home, check around the house for puddles or dampness. The most common places for a leak to be, and where you should check first, are showers, tubs, toilets, under cabinets (in both the kitchen and bathroom), your clothes washer, and your dishwasher. The water heater is also a common culprit, so make sure to check for puddles there, too. 

If those areas all seem reasonably dry, then you’ll have to look for even more difficult clues, as the leak is probably inside the walls. These clues include paint bubbling, wood rot, water stains, the sound of dripping water, or a smell similar to that of a stereotypical basement (dank, musty, moldy, etc.).

What Causes Water Leaks?

Leaks, while quite common, are unique and may need different solutions. But what causes leaks? Well, leaks can be caused by many things, depending on where the leak is located and how severe it is. Leaks in a tub or sink can result from a blockage in the drain system, which can cause the drain to break under pressure. If your pipes have ever frozen, they could have cracked, or joints may have loosened as a result. 

When pipes go through temperature changes, they may expand or contract. They may vibrate slightly as water runs through them, and these changes can loosen fittings and joints. Consistently high water pressure could contribute to excess stress on your plumbing. A typical home’s water pressure should sit at around 60psi, but most residential water systems are designed to handle up to 80psi. If the water pressure gets excessively high, it may cause pipes to leak, crack, or even burst. 

How Should You Handle a Leak?

It may be tempting to handle the situation yourself, but in most scenarios, DIY fixes will only address the surface of the problem. You should call a professional unless it’s something small and simple, like replacing a showerhead. 

Why is it so vital to address even a small water leak? Leaving puddles of water sitting in your home can lead to mold and mildew infestations. That may not seem like a big deal, but mold can become a health hazard and cause severe damage to your home. So it’s best to call in a professional at once. 

When your home has a leak and needs to be cleaned up, it’s best to call in the experts. AdvantaClean is here to help you with all of your home cleaning needs, from water damage to fire damage, we can just about do it all. And if your home has a leak, it’s best to get rid of that water immediately.