Having a leak in or around your home can cause a lot of problems for you and your family. Even if you have a well, which means that you aren’t paying for your water, even a small leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Before hiring a plumber, check out this guide to finding leaks inside and outside your home.
Leak Detection Inside
Read the Water Meter for Leak Detection
One of the best way that you can determine if there is a leak in the plumbing system is to look at your home’s water meter. If you’re unsure of where this is, you can call your local water department to find out where it is.
- Be sure there is no water being used outside or inside the house.
- Find your home’s water meter, then check its leak indicator and find out if it’s moving. Based on your meter’s brand, this could be a small dial shaped like a triangle or it could be a wheel that is silver in color that is rotating when water is flowing through your meter. If you’re noticing the dial is moving, there is a good chance there is a leak.
- Another way to tell if you have a leak is to take a reading on your meter and wait a couple of hours without using water. If your reading changed, there is a leak.
Once you’ve determined there is a leak, you want to figure out whether you have a leak outside or inside the house.
- Find the main shutoff valve in your home and shut your water off at your valve. Most of the times you’re going to find this valve in your garage or basement right behind an outside faucet or outdoors under an outside faucet.
- Next you want to check your leak indicator and see if it’s moving or use the method that uses the reading of the meter. Make sure that you’re not using any water. If your leak indicator isn’t moving or you don’t see a change in your readings, your leak is in your house. If it keeps moving or if the meter reading changes, you have a leak outside of your house in between your house and your meter.
- If you can’t find your leak, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a plumber.
Below are some of the most common types of leaks that are in a house:
These usually happen because of a rubber washer that is worn out. You usually find the washer beneath the handle. These kinds of washers are usually easily replaced, with the correct tools. You’ll have to shut off water beneath your sink or using your main valve, and then remove your handle.
A leaking toilet can lead to losing a lot of water, which means that you’re going to have a high water bill. These are often silent, too. The good news is that the majority of toilet leaks are inexpensive and easy to repair.
So you can determine if your toilet is leaking, just remove the lid of the tank and put some food coloring into the tank’s back. If there is no food coloring, a dye tab can also work. Wait approximately 30 minutes and don’t flush. Then you should look into the bowl of your toilet and see if any of the color’s come through. If your water is clear, there’s no water leaking. If there is color in your bowl, there is a leak. Toilet leaks can waste hundreds of gallons and often times are silent. Even a small leak can add up to a lot of wasted water and money over time. Fortunately, most toilet leaks are easy and inexpensive to repair.
For the most part, you simple will have to replace your toilet’s filling mechanism or flapper. You can buy this at a home center or hardware store for about $10 or less.
Leaks in the Flapper Valve
One of the most common reasons a toilet leaks is that it has a flapper that doesn’t seal or work properly. This is that rubber valve in your tank’s bottom which lifts when your toilet has flushed. If you have a cracked or worn flapper, it will let water to flow continuously from your tank into the bowl of the toilet without it being flushed.
Problems with the Flush Handle
If you have to jiggle your handle to stop your toilet from always running, you may have a sticky flush level chain and bar. Adjust your nut that is securing it in your toilet tank. It may need replacing if this doesn’t solve your problem.
Leaks in the Overflow Tube
It’s best if your water level is set so it’s even with your toilet tank’s fill line, which is about ½ inch below your overflow tube. If your water is too high inside your toilet tank and it’s spilling into your overflow tube, you can adjust your water level by turning your adjustment screw. You can also try really gently bending your float arm downward, so your water is shutting off below your overflow tube.
It should be noted that if the steps above aren’t solving your problem, calling a plumber may be the step that you need to take for replacing or repairing your toilet.
Finding Other Kinds of Water Leaks
Your bathing and drinking water is delivered under a lot of pressure, so it can be obvious that you have a leak. But wastewater usually is moved using gravity and it isn’t under pressure. That is why wastewater leaks are a lot more difficult to detect. If you think that your wastewater is leaking, it’s a good idea to find it as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that it’s not always obvious where the leak is. Sometimes leaks begin at one place and flow on a channel such as a ledge for a while before draining out and creating visible damage.
Keep an eye out for discolored, warped or wet areas on your walls, floors, woodwork (like your bathroom or kitchen sink cabinet’s bottom) or ceilings. As you try to repair it, make sure you’re double checking for the leak’s actual location, rather than simply the damage that resulted from the leak.
There can also be condensation forming because of water leaks. Even though this is normal, a lot of condensation can lead to damage to woodwork, floors, ceilings and walls. If there’s a lot of it, it may be a good idea to insulate your pipes to help with reducing or stopping the condensation.
Detecting Underground Leaks
It can be hard to find underground leaks since they are not always as obvious as leaks that are in your home. But there are two things that you can do to see if you have a leak underground.
- Search and feel around for spots on your property that are constantly wet.
- Look at your curb, street or driveway for evidence that suggests water flow. This might not be a stream of steady water. It could just be a puddle which is always there, or even a dark spot like water’s been spilled on some dry concrete.
- Read your home’s water meter, then write down your readings. Don’t run your water for 2-3 hours and then read it again.
- If you notice use and all of the other leaks that you know have been fixed, there is a good chance you have a leak underground.
As you can see, there are many things that you can do to help you find a leak on your property. The sooner you find and fix a leak, the better chance you will have of avoiding expensive repairs.
About this Expert Contributor
Titanz Plumbing, Inc. would be more than willing to assist you with any of your plumbing needs. They offer a wide range of Plumbing services that should be more than capable of catering to any problems you might be experiencing. If you have any questions or concerns, contact them today.