Water damage can be very damaging for your home, and the worst part about it is that it can be hard to detect. Even a tiny undetected water leak can cause plenty of damage over a prolonged period. The damage caused by water leaks can be difficult and expensive to fix, so it makes sense to find and fix any leaks quickly. In this article, we have compiled five useful tips that will help you to locate hidden water leaks that may be lurking in your home.
- Check the Main Water Line
The main water line that brings the public water into your home has a meter and shut off valve to record and turn off the water. These two elements of your water supply system are very useful in detecting hidden water leaks. This process will involve taking a water meter reading, turning the water off, and checking if water is still being used.
Locate your water shut off valve; it should be somewhere near your home, turn it off and find the meter. Lift the lid off the water meter and observe the dial; if you can’t find the meter, it may be covered by dirt and debris. Brushing the ground in the general areas should reveal the water meter cover. Then turn off every plumbing fixture in the home, record the meter reading, and leave the system alone for at least six hours.
Later, check the meter, if it’s still turning the water leak is probably located between the home or a leaking water valve, This is a common problem with older bronze valve, and there is a good chance that the leak is inside the home. It can be a useful exercise to walk the route between the meter and the shut off valve. If you notice any muddy or soft patches in your yard, the water leak may be under those areas. In both cases, you need to contact a local certified plumber to locate and fix the leak.
- Checking the Hot Water Tank
The pressure relief valve in the hot water tank is a common location for hard to notice water leaks. The valve could be located in a drain, making it much harder to spot a leak, and the drainpipe must be removed to confirm if this is true. If you cannot remove the drainpipe, listen closely for a hissing noise that could indicate the presence of a water leak. A physical inspection of the water tank is also useful; look for any sitting water or evidence of water staining under the tank. Look at the bottom of the discharge tube for moisture or dripping water.
- Check the Toilets
We rely heavily on our toilets every single day on multiple occasions. These plumbing fixtures have a hard life, and they use a large volume of water. As such, it makes sense to check all of the toilets in your home if you suspect that you have a water leak. Many people look for toilet water leaks around the outside of the toilet, but this is more obvious, and it’s the water leaks inside the toilet that are more concerning. If you have a leak inside one or more of your toilets, you may not notice them, and they will use a huge volume of water driving up your utility bills.
When you check for a water leak inside a toilet, you need to take off the lid from the water tank and put it somewhere safe. Next, listen closely for any hissing sounds that could indicate a water leak. If you cannot hear anything, you can add a couple of drops of red food dye to the toilet water tank. Leave the toilet for a short while, and then check the water inside the toilet bowl itself. If that water has turned pink from the food dye, there is a water leak, and it’s typically caused by the flapper.
The toilet flapper can be easily replaced with a new component, and this usually fixes the problem quickly. If you have some experience with DIY plumbing, this is an easy fix, but if you’re not sure, it’s a better idea to contact a local certified plumber for expert help.
- Checking Outside Hose Bibs
Many homes have a pair of outside hose bibs, one at the front and one at the rear. But, some homes have more; there could be others that you may not be aware of, and finding them should be a priority. Once you’ve found all of the outside hose bibs, there is a simple trick to hear what is going on inside the unit. Take a screwdriver, place the metal end on the hose bob, put your thumb knuckle on the handle, and put your ear on the knuckle. This works kind of like a stethoscope, you can hear the vibrations inside the hose bib, and you can hear a water leak inside. Repeat this process with each hose bib, in turn, to find all the leaks and contact a plumber
to fix them for you.
- Check Internal Plumbing Fixtures
There are plenty of other possible water leaks points in your home, and it’s a good idea to check all of your internal plumbing fixtures. If the leak is more obvious, you may notice a drip or tiny leak coming from the fixture itself or underneath. Take a close look at every faucet in your kitchen and laundry sinks, bathtubs, shower mixer taps, and other locations.
In many cases, these smaller leaks are caused by the failure of a small rubber washer inside the faucet. Replacing a washer is simple if you have a little DIY knowledge and a few basic tools. If you lack confidence or the skills, it’s a better idea to call a plumber, and you can save money by getting them to fix all of the leaks at the same time.
Although a minor water leak doesn’t seem like a big deal, they can waste a large volume of water over time. If you have more than one water leak, this is multiplied, and your water bills will be much higher than they should be. Over the course of the year, this could really add up to a significant amount, and it makes sense to fix any leaks quickly.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution