fixing water leaks

Addressing, Identifying and Preventing Water Leaks

May-2020 / 5 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The sounds “drip, drip, drip” has always been a dreadful sound for property owners, homeowners and renters alike. That is because aside from it an annoying sound that can keep you up all night, it is also the sound of your money quite literally going down the drain. 

Water leaks, unfortunately, are very common in households all over the world. A fact that the Association of British Insurers confirmed when they disclosed that one in every four building and content insurance claims are for “release of water” cases, which basically insurance-speak for leaky pipes or burst pipes. 

Sometimes, it makes itself known with persistent dripping sounds, some moisture here, or even a puddle there. However, more often than we realize, water leaks like these sneak up on us and only makes itself known with a flood in our kitchen or a ceiling that gave in after a pipe burst.  

Either way, though, such leaks are an extreme inconvenience that we must all, at one point, face. What you can do, though, is take the steps to help minimize the damage that a water leak may cause on your home and your wallet. 

And so, to save you the headache (and the heartache) of having to worry about spending lots of money on house and plumbing repairs, as well as an expensive meter reading, we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide to help you take on the challenge of a water leak in your new home.

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What Happens When You Have A Leak In Your Home?

Leaks in your home should be a cause of alarm for a multitude of reasons. Paying your bill which is alarmingly and significantly higher than your usual water bill is only the beginning of your issues.

Aside from expensive water bills, water leaks can be the beginning of many problems in your home. For example, unchecked water leaks can cause tons of physical damage to your home. You may also encounter damaged furniture and appliances due to the moisture, or worse, flooding caused by the leak. If the leak is subtle, undetected, and unchecked for months, it can affect more than just the visible parts of your home but compromise its structural integrity as well. Property managers, from all over the world, agree that a house flood can exponentially decrease the value of a house when you try to sell it. Potential buyers are easily turned off from a property if they find out that it has experienced a flood. This is because the damage seeps through the floorboards and opens up a lot of unfortunate possibilities such as mould growth.

Moreover, such water leaks may also have the potential to ruin your home’s market value forever. This is because while you may have been able to “fix” the leak, its effects will remain. Lastly, such leaks can and will cause mould and fungal growth if not properly addressed. This, in turn, may pose a handful of health risks for you and the rest of your household.  Humans exposed to mould may experience nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, coughing and sneezing fits, and a compromised immune system. Furthermore, mould can eventually grow within them, thus opening them up to worse health complications. Meanwhile, infants exposed to mould develop an increased likelihood of developing asthma.

Aside from the hazards stated above, sewage leaks are also toxic to humans and pets. 

Signs There Is A Leak In Your Home

Stopping or fixing a leak, however, is only possible when you know that there is a leak in the first place. Here are some telltale signs for a leak that you should be on the lookout for:

Cracks On Your Walls

Leaks, no matter how minimal, may have an effect on the foundation of your home and compromise its structure. When leaks persist and affect the same spot on the ground underneath your home, it may eventually cause your house to shift ever so slightly. While you may not feel this happen, it will cause some stress on your walls. 

The Sound of Running Water

Make sure you’re not hearing the sound of any faucet, shower, toilet valve or spigot running. Once everything is shut off, check your water meter reading. Do not use the water for a few hours, and then check your water meter reading again. If you see a change, then chances are you do have a leak in your home. 

Damp or Wet Floors

If you find unexplainable damp patches on your carpet or puddles of water on your floor, then you probably have a sewer leak. Such leaks are extremely persistent and pose a handful of health hazards for you and your family. 

Unusually Expensive Water Bill Costs

If your monthly water bill comes out more costly than usual for no explainable reason, then you are more than likely to be sporting a leak in your home. 

Foul Odours

If you’re smelling funky and couldn’t find its source, then chances are you’re smelling the mould and mildew that are slowly developing within your home. 

Where Am I Most Likely To Find A Leak In My Home?

If you think you’ve got a link, but are not entirely sure on where the source of the leak could be, then here are some areas of your home where a leak could be possibly located. 

  • Water tank
  • Toilets
  • Showerheads
  • Pipework
  • Appliances i.e. Washing Machines, Refrigerators, Radiators
  • Boilers

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What Do I Do When There’s A Leak?

If you experience sewer flooding, burst pipes, or even just notice a small water leak within the boundary of your property, the very first thing you should do is turn off your water mains. This will not only help you save water which would have otherwise been wasted due to the leaks on your supply. 

Once you have done that, try to identify or locate the source of the leak. Check your appliances, supply pipes, and any water pipe you can think of. If you cannot find the source of the leak, then it is best to call in a registered or approved plumber, preferably the one who is responsible for your pipework. If this is not possible, then any emergency plumber will do. 

Do not attempt to fix leaks on your own, as this may only cause more problems for you in the long run.  

Looking Out For and Preventing Catastrophic Leaks In Your Home

While it is important for you to know when a leak is present in your home and what to do when there is one, it also wouldn’t hurt for you to be vigilant in order to stay ahead of the leak. Here are some steps you could take in order to be constantly and actively on the lookout for possible leaks within your property. 

  • Before paying your bill, dedicate some time for reading it. Understanding your bill is vital, as it helps you make sure that everything is in perfect order. You may ask your local water resources management centre to give you monthly statements based on your monthly reading in order to properly check your water usage and consumption rates. 
  • Take note of the water pressure when you use the sink or take a shower. Low pressure could also mean a leak somewhere along your water pipe. If the case is isolated to tap or showerhead, though, then it could be a small clog.
  • Monitor when your boiler or water heater comes on. If you notice it running almost constantly, then you probably have a leak somewhere along your water pipes. 
  • You may also call for a plumber to conduct routine maintenance checks on your plumbing system to ensure that there are no leaks and that everything is in perfect order. Approved plumbers may opt to check for leaks using thermal imaging and acoustic listening devices to complete the task more efficiently. 

Final Thoughts

While you do not necessarily have the option of completely preparing your home for a catastrophic water leak, there are many steps you can take to prepare yourself for it. Moreover, by taking these steps, you can help minimize the damage and costs that could result from a water leak. 

It is also important to remember that you should not attempt to fix leaks in your property yourself. Always seek out the help of a professional plumber to ensure any issues from worsening or escalating. 

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