Unfortunately – water leaks are a common occurrence in most households. Where there is a pipe, sink or tub there is also the possibility of springing a leak. A leak can appear big or small, in all shapes and sizes – with some a little harder to find than others. They can cause flooding, rot, decay, and other extensive issues to your home and health so it’s important to know how to check for leaks and where to find them.
Here at No Probs we know a thing or two about plumbing leaks, so to pass on a little knowledge from me to you, follow below for a few tips on how to uncover leaks in your home.
Check Your Water Meter
One of the best ways to determine if your home has a leak in your plumbing system is to check your water meter. This simple test consists of 3 steps.
- Turn off all taps and water using devices in your home, such as washing machines or dishwashers.
- Note down the red numbers on your water meter and wait at least 15 minutes to an hour.
- Check the numbers again once the time has elapsed. If the gauge has changed, you may have a leak in the system.
Monitor Your Water Bill
Keep a close eye on your water bill and any dramatic changes to your usage. Water bills tend to be quite similar in price per month if your daily habits haven’t strayed too far from the norm. Therefore, if you receive an unusually high bill, it’s highly likely you’ve sprung a leak.
One of the most common places to find leaks in your house is in the kitchen – around the sinks and among the supply pipes at the base of the basins. Inspect your bench top for water damage keeping an eye out for areas that appear dark, swollen, and spongy.
Check inside and under (if possible) the cabinet for dampness, water puddles and signs of decaying floorboards.
Examine where the tap joins the counter and ensure it’s not loose. Over time this joint can become weak and deteriorate—allowing water to trickle through.
If you live in a multistory home and the kitchen is located upstairs, inspect the ceiling below for any signs of moisture or dried water stains. If the ceiling appears to be stained or warped there may be a leak requiring urgent attention.
Lastly, a good tip to check for leaks in your kitchen is to pass over the supply and drainage pipes with a dry cloth as the sink drains. Areas affected by a leak will become apparent by leaving a mark on the cloth.
Dye Test Toilet
Look to regularly inspect your toilet for interior and exterior leaks as toilets can account for up to a quarter of your monthly water usage. We advise to check for any puddles that may have arisen in fixtures or crevices around the toilet that may indicate an exterior leak. More commonly though is the opportunity for an interior leak, generally caused due to the deterioration of the outlet washer (flapper) over time.
The outlet washer is a rubber seal that blocks the water from entering the bowl until flushed, so when it becomes brittle, it allows water to trickle from the tank into the bowl. To test for leaks, add a few drops of food colouring into your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If your tank is leaking, colour will show up in the toilet bowl—allowing water to flow from the tank to your drain without ever flushing the bowl.
Read more here on – How to fix your toilet leaky fill valve
Mould or Mildew
An accumulation of mould or mildew generally under the sink, near the shower or growing around the bathtub is a clear sign that you may be dealing with a leak. After cleaning the mould if you notice a recurrence in the same area then it’s time to contact a professional plumber to head over and resolve the issue.
Call In Your Local Plumber For Back Up
A quick inspection of your yard can go a long way to determining if a buried water line is leaking. Check for patches of grass that are greener and grow faster than the rest of the area. Puddles may also form on the surface of the ground if the leak is more profound.
Sometimes plumbing leaks can be a little less noticeable and harder to detect. Even if the water meter indicates a leak may not be present, it is worthwhile keeping a close eye out for:
Wall discoloration and bubbling paint
Water stains tend to appear as an off yellow or brown colour. This could imply that water is leaking from a pipe behind the wall board and soaking through to the front. If you have wallpaper and have discovered paint bubbles or a bulge in the wallboard this may be a sign that the wallboard is wet and may need to be replaced.
Some leaks can be heard or seen via a drip. If you can hear or see a drip, you can generally get a good idea of where the leak may originate.
An area that has been leaking for a considerable time may develop mould or black stains on the inside or outside of the wall. The moisture and humidity levels provide the perfect setting for the mould to thrive.
In most cases, mould tends to grow inside the wall where it’s not visible, so keeping an eye out for black spots and a possible musty smell will help diagnose the issue.
It’s important to recognise that not all water leaks are plumbing leaks. Water could be leaking in the roof or through a window. But either way, no leak should be taken lightly. If you feel you need a hand with a leak at your household, reduce the risk of water damage by giving a licensed plumber at No Probs a call on 9315 5545.