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Water Leak Tips and Tricks: What To Do, Checks, & Repairs

The plumbing system in your home is a marvel of ingenuity, developed over the last five-thousand years starting in ancient Greece. In the Roman era, the ability to bring water into Rome from the remote mountains was a significant engineering feat. Plumbing, as we know it today, began to take shape in the early 1800s when New York City installed the country’s first water main, initially only used in firefighting.

In any plumbing system, there are multiple possible points of failure where leaks can occur. Leaking faucets, showerheads, and toilets are easy to detect, as we interact with these appliances every day. Water leaks from supply lines, underneath sinks, drain, and sewer lines all need to be addressed before they can damage your home. These leaks will often go unnoticed for a long time due to their out-of-sightline locations.

How Much Water is Wasted Every Day with a Leak?

The amount of wasted water depends on the severity of the leak in question, and how many leaking faucets, toilets, or outdoor hose bibbs you have. For example, let’s say you have two faucets in your home that are leaking at a rate of 10 drips per minute. Between these two fixtures, you can expect to waste almost 30,000 drips per day, which breaks down to one gallon per day, per faucet, adding up to nearly 700 gallons wasted per year.

In addition to the guilt you should be feeling about wasting all that water, you may want to know that leaks also spend money in higher bills. Even small leaks can add up to $20 or $30 to your monthly water bill, which may not seem like a lot, but in just a year adds up to $360.

How Do I Know if I Have a Leak?

The first sign of a leak that they get comes as a higher than average water bill for many homeowners. Most bills include a chart showing your water usage for the last few months, a sudden spike in usage can be a sign of leakage somewhere in the water supply lines or fixtures. Reduced water pressure at more than one faucet or showerhead can also be a clue that you have a water supply pipe leak somewhere.

While leaking faucets and running toilets make their presence more than obvious, we regularly see those fixtures. Discovering these hidden leaks early on is critical to preventing extensive water damage to your home or property. There are some signs that you have a hidden leak somewhere in your home that are important to be on the lookout for.

Where Is My Leak Coming From?

Narrowing down the location of a well-concealed leak is a challenge, not just for the homeowner, but often for even the most experienced plumbers as well. It is critical to find the source of a water leak early, as long-term leaks can cause thousands of dollars in damage in a short amount of time. The number one claim against homeowner’s insurance policies is from water damage caused by plumbing leaks.

Water Supply Lines: The lines from the city that provide your water are pressurized to facilitate flow to every home in the community. Your home’s supply comes from a single pipe through a meter to measure usage, followed by a pressure regulator. The pressure regulator is a device that is used to step-down the pressure of the water entering your home.

If allowed to enter your home at its unregulated pressure of 100 pounds per square inch (psi), it would damage your plumbing and fittings. Usually, water comes into the house at pressurization of between 30 – 50 psi, which is sufficient to deliver water to a two- or three-story home. Even with this lowered pressure, a broken water supply pipe can release hundreds of gallons per hour into your home.

Sink and Bathtub Faucet Leaks Detection: The most obvious is sometimes the most ignored. We tend to “get used” to a dripping faucet, perhaps we even miss the sounds of it once it is fixed. While a dripping faucet doesn’t rank as a plumbing emergency, any leaks around your home need to be addressed quickly. Leaking faucets never repair themselves and can waste hundreds of gallons of water every month, leading to higher bills.

Toilet Leaks Detection: One of the most used plumbing appliances in the home, the toilet is susceptible to leaks both inside and outside the tank. The supply valve and flex hose connection can break down from corrosion, causing significant leaks and broken flanges at the base that can leak raw sewage into your floors.

The inside of the tank has several moving parts that wear out from regular use like handles and fill valves. Other components like the rubber flapper between the toilet tank and the bowl are damaged by a combination of hard water and chemicals. Regardless of the reason, when these parts become worn and cause leaks, it’s time to replace them.

Water Heater Leaks Detection: Any leaks around your water heater are certainly cause for alarm, especially if the tank is leaking from the seam. Seam leaks on a tank-type water heater can signal that the tank will fail soon, leaving behind forty to seventy gallons of water for you to clean up after. The cost to repair that kind of water damage will often extend into thousands of dollars.

How Soon Does Mold Grow After a Leak?

Mold is a fungus that occurs anywhere excessive moisture is present, producing airborne spores that quickly reproduce. Once a leak has started, mold growth can begin within 24-48 hours of the first exposure to water and continue to grow until the leak is fixed and the contamination is repaired.

Repairing a home after mold damage from a water leak is a process called “mold remediation” that requires removal and replacement of any contaminated surfaces. Depending on the location and severity of the water damage, this remediation may include replacement of drywall, ceilings, studs, and floorboards.

How Long Does It Take for Drywall to Dry Out?

The best answer we can give to that question is, “it doesn’t matter.” Once the drywall is directly exposed to water, it begins to lose its structural integrity as the paper fibers that make it up start to disintegrate. Wet sheetrock will retain moisture for months, and in that time, your drywall is a perfect spot to grow mildew and mold. It is recommended that any drywall that is within 2 feet of any water damage should be replaced.

Why Choose Nick’s Plumbing to Find My Leak?

Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services has been the premier leak experts in and around Houston since 1979. Our licensed and experienced technicians who are dispatched to your home will use your information to isolate the leak and perform a series of tests to determine its precise source. Once the leak is found, a determination must be made if the pipes involved can be repaired or require replacement. Your plumbing technician will provide a free written estimate (or a second opinion) on the necessary services after performing the inspection. Call Nick’s Plumbing and Sewer Services today for any leak, plumbing, gas line, or sewer services.

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