If you’ve dealt with plumbing problems in your home, you don’t need to be told that what seems like a small leak can very quickly turn into a disaster if left neglected. When this happens, you don’t just have the initial cause of the leak to take care of, but also the resulting problems — damaged drywall, ruined flooring, moldy ceiling tiles, etc.
The costs associated with these problems can easily add up, including the higher water bills you’ll likely see each month. Fortunately, many common household leaks can be prevented with a few preventative steps, as we will outline below.
Tip #1: Be on the lookout for leaking pipes.
Often, a leaky pipe may go unnoticed for quite some time. By the time you do notice the issue, it’s too late and the damage has already been done. To help prevent this from happening in your home, it’s recommended to check your cabinets, ceilings (including drop tiles if you have them in your basement), and floors. If you notice any water spots or damage caused by moisture, then it’s best to call in a plumbing professional since you may have a leak.
You may be wondering what causes these common household leaks to tubs, showers, toilets, sinks, etc. There may be many different reasons for the presence of a leaky pipe. Those reasons could include corrosion, rust, high water pressure, wear and tear from normal use, and not making repairs when needed.
Tip #2: Soggy bathroom floor? Check your toilet.
If you’ve noticed that your bathroom floor feels wet or soggy, you may have an issue with your toilet. It’s not uncommon for the wax ring seal around the base of the toilet to become weak with use as time passes. Additionally, the problem could also be the result of loosened or rusted bolts securing the toilet to the floor, or it may be an issue with the pipes/valves leading to your toilet not being properly aligned. It’s recommended that you regularly check how securely your toilet base is anchored to the bathroom floor.
Some other common warning signs of a problem include a strong sewer odor coming up from the toilet bowl, or puddles of water pooling around the base of the unit. Regardless of the cause of the leaking toilet base, it’s something that you need to take care of immediately — before the problem gets worse.
Tip #3: Check your washing machine’s hoses.
Many homeowners are unaware that they should replace their clothes washer’s hoses every few years. As time passes, the hoses and their connectors could become weak due to age and normal wear and tear. You may notice that they start to leak when in use. Be on the lookout for leaking hoses or any build-up of water on the floor around your washing machine.
In addition to replacing your washing machine’s hoses every few years, it’s recommended to have your connections checked annually by a professional plumber. Failure to take care of a washing machine leak could result in excessively high water bills each month, as well as damaged and/or moldy flooring in your laundry area.
Tip #4: Inspect your kitchen appliances.
Many times, leaks from dishwashers and refrigerators can go unnoticed for quite a while. The water lines connected to them are out of sight — underneath or behind the appliance itself. This is why it’s important to inspect these units often — to be sure there isn’t a leak that needs to be fixed.
Also, clean the water line connections behind your fridge often, and be sure that they are securely in place. These connections can become coated with dust (and pet hair), and that can lead to issues with the overall functionality of your refrigerator.
Warning signs of a leak with these two appliances can include a musty smell and discoloration of the floor around or beneath them. If you notice an issue, contact a plumber ASAP for assistance.
Tip #5: Evaluate the condition of your home’s foundation.
The structural integrity of your entire home could be in jeopardy if there’s a problem with the foundation. When you have a water leak under your foundation, it’s known as a slab leak. These leaks may be caused by several conditions, including shifting soil beneath your home, high water pressure in your water lines, or even incorrect construction techniques or materials being used when your home was built.
Unfortunately, many of the causes of a slab leak can’t be prevented by you. However, you can be mindful of what you flush or wash down your drains.
If you notice cracks in your foundation, water pooling around the base of your home, or low water pressure when you’re showering, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc., these could all be indications of a slab leak. Contact a plumbing and/or foundation expert as soon as possible for assistance with any necessary repairs.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
With these tips in mind, you should hopefully be able to catch any leaks in your home early — before they result in damaged floors, ceilings, walls, etc., and before they potentially foster the development of dangerous mold.