As your home ages various repair problems can crop up that need attention, and water leaks are of them. Although not an uncommon issue for homeowners, the difficulty in how to deal with one can vary greatly and it all comes down to finding out just where the leak is occurring. There are some steps you can take to try and locate a water leak yourself before calling a plumber. If you do end up having to call for professional help, any preliminary detective work you do will be quite helpful to them and could save you money on labor costs.
1. Check Your Water Meter
This is probably the single biggest thing that can alert you to a water leak besides a higher than normal water bill. In order to check your water meter, first make sure that no water is being used in your home. Then go outside and locate your water meter and check to see if the leak indicator dial is moving. If it is still moving, there is a chance that you may have a leak. Another option is to take a meter reading, wait a few hours ensuring that you use no water during this period, and then go back and take another meter reading. A change in the reading indicates that you have a leak.
2. Determine if the Leak is Inside or Outside of Your Home
You will need to locate your main water valve and shut it off to find out if the leak is inside or outside. Usually the main water valve is located in your basement, garage, or outside where there is a faucet located. Even if you don’t have a leak, it’s very important to know where this main valve is in case you need to shut off the water in case of a plumbing emergency.
Once you shut it off, go back to your water meter and check to see if the dial is still moving. If it’s still moving and there’s been a change in the readings, then you have a leak outside and will most likely need to call a plumber for further help. If the dial has stopped moving, then the leak is inside the house.
3. Tell Tale Signs of a Leak
If you determine the leak is occurring inside your home, then doing a walk through searching for tell tale signs would be a great first step. Look for water stains and mold on your ceilings and walls and floors. Make a regular habit of opening your cabinets and looking under the sink pipes for warped or discolored areas.
The rubber hoses that connect water your washing machine are also common areas where leaks can occur. Manufacturers recommend changing out your washer hoses once every 5-7 years because of rubber oxidation that breaks down the material. If you notice a moldy or musty odor in certain rooms of your home, this could mean you have a broken pipe in the wall, ceiling or under the floor.
4. The Toilet Test
Toilets can account for up to 30% of your water usage, so making sure they are not leaking can save you big money. A simple way to tell if you have a leak is to add a few drops of food coloring to the tank. Then, wait 10-15 minutes and check the toilet bowl itself. If you notice the food coloring there, then you have a leak that allows water to escape from the tank into the bowl without flushing. To further narrow down the issue, you will want to shut off the water valve to the toilet and open the tank to mark the level of the water with a pencil.
Wait 15 minutes and if the level has gone down, you need to repair your flush valve. If the level has not gone down, you may need to replace your fill valve. Refer to your manufacturer’s instruction on how to proceed with repairs for your particular unit.
5. Call A Plumber
Sometimes no matter what you do, it’s impossible to find that pesky leak in your home. This is a time when you would want to call on a licensed plumber for help. If your home is over 25 years old, then having a plumber come in for an annual inspection is a good idea. It could save you big headaches and thousands of dollars in the long run.
There are so many ways that a leak could occur in your home that having a professional come by with a checklist can save you a lot of time and hassle for the simple fact that a plumber knows just where and what to look for. The cost of their time could pay for itself in the long run if you are able to avoid costly plumbing repairs.
A water leak in your home can lead to water damage. So make sure you do not neglect the problem, because a water restoration job can be a hassle.
So now you have an idea on how to find a water leak in your home. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are still having trouble!
We have helped hundreds of clients to with their water leak detection in Miami, Broward and all over South Florida.