Water leaks can damage your health as well as the structure of your home. So it’s a smart idea for homeowners to learn the signs of water leaks and the damage they cause. Here in Houston, there are scores of plumbers and water mitigation specialists who can assist you. But paying heard-earned money to detect leaky pipes as a prevention technique is not the smart play. After all, the professionals may not find a leak in your home. Detecting the leaks yourself will save you money; call a professional when it’s mandatory.
Begin by searching for wet spots. Don’t get this confused with kitchen spills or bathroom puddles; wet spots indicate leaks. Turn off faucets, washers and dryers, and other water-using machines. Then, turn off the main shut-off valve outside. Popular locations are the garage and basement. Search the home thoroughly for wet spots in dry areas. Common leaks occur near faucets, toilets, flush handles, shower and tub combos, flapper valves, appliances, exposed pipes, hidden pipes, and roofs.
Some leaks are less obvious, and require a bit of work to discover. Appliances and furniture should be moved, for example, to ensure there’s no moisture underneath or behind them. Floors should be carefully checked for a warped or spongy appearance. Cabinets below sinks should also be checked for moisture. Examine exposed pipes for corrosion or moisture.
Take the search upward and examine the ceiling for discoloration. This can be an indication of roof damage caused by rain, wind, and hail damage – all of which can be common in the Houston area. In addition to inspecting floors and ceilings, examine the walls for discoloration. Touch the walls and floors for wetness and excessive condensation. Then, take the search outside and examine water in driveways, curbs, walkways, and in the street for water flow. Find dark spots in dry concrete and puddles that never dries up.
A leak detector can be a very helpful tool. It won’t tell you the exact location of the issue, but it will inform you if a leak is present. Turn off the water inside and outside, as well as the shut off valve. Look at the water meter’s leak indicator (a triangular dial or silver wheel) for movement. Moving indicators indicate a leak. Meters with no leak indicators still detect leaks. Write down the current reading now. Don’t use water for the next one or two hours. Check the meter again. If the number changes, a leak exists. If no leaks are apparent, the leak is likely behind a wall or crawlspace.
Once you detect a leak, the earlier you address the issue, the less damage it will cause. You should definitely call a plumber or a water mitigation specialist to fix the problem. The helpful information above will give an indication of the location. From there, the technician will fix the leak and prevent water and home damage. Searching the home for leaks is time-consuming and nobody enjoys doing it. But forgoing the process increases the chances of structural damage as well as mold and mildew popping up – that can cost your health as well as your pocketbook.
A leak search isn’t a onetime drill. Leaks can occur anytime. Continuous, routine checks can help prevent future leaks from causing damage. Keep this information as a reminder to check your home every so often.