The invention of running water in the home changed the modern world forever. However, running water is only beneficial if it is contained in a sink, pipe, tub, dishwasher, or other appropriate appliance. If there is a water leak, water can become the enemy. It can damage your home’s structure and furnishings and lead to mold and other problems.
The frustrating thing is that not all leaks are easy to find. The insidious nature of hidden leaks makes it essential that you find and fix a leak as quickly as possible. As a homeowner, you should know the signs that you have a leak. These signs can alert you to take action and call a plumbing professional.
Evaluate Your Water Bill
You may have a leaky toilet that keeps running after it has been flushed. A leak typically causes an unusually high water bill. Dripping faucets can waste up to 20 gallons of water each day.
If you have a broken water pipe, you could be losing hundreds of gallons of water daily. If you notice that your water bill is higher than usual and have not increased your water usage, you likely have a leak.
A higher water bill may be one of the only signs that you have a leak in a place that you cannot see. Check outdoor crawlspaces and spigots to look for wet spots in the yard that could indicate a leak.
According to the EPA, a family of four will use around 12,000 gallons of water per month. A small leak can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water each year. Monitoring your water bill is an innovative, proactive way to keep leaks at bay.
Watch the Water Meter
Your water meter never lies. If you think you have a leak, monitor your home’s water meter to get a definite answer. You can usually find the meter on the back of your house or near where the water supply enters the house.
To check for a leak, start by turning off all of the water faucets in your home. Make sure that your dishwasher and washing machine are not running.
Write down the number on the water meter, and do not use the water at all, even to flush the toilet. Return in one hour to recheck the number. If the numbers change, you have a leak. Of course, knowing that you have a leak is not enough. You need to pinpoint where the leak is located.
If your home has a water meter located on the street, you can determine if the leak is in the house or outdoors. First, turn off the shut-off valve for your home’s main water supply pipe. You can find this in the basement or where the water supply pipe enters the house.
Write down the number on the meter. Wait for an hour, and don’t use any water. When you check the number again and see that the number has not changed, then the leak is in your home. If the number has changed, the leak is in the water line that goes into your house. With either situation, you will likely need the assistance of a professional plumber to find and fix the leak.
Find Where the Grass Is Greener
Unfortunately, that lush green patch of grass that pops up out of nowhere might not be the result of your green thumb. It could be a sign that you have a yard leak.
If there is an underground leak somewhere in your yard, the additional water supply will make the surrounding grass grow faster and greener. If you notice green grass and notice that your water bill is higher, this is a good indication that you want to talk to a plumber. They will be able to identify and repair the leak with minimal disruption to your yard and home.
Put Dye in the Toilet
Plumbers will use a colored dye to check for a leak. First, they will remove the lid from the tank and put it in a safe location. Next, they will look at the tank’s water level. Each toilet has a water line where the water level should be based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The plumber will then introduce a powdery dye into the tank, wait for around 15 minutes, and check to see if there is any color in the bowl. If there is any color in the bowl, even a light color, it indicates a leak. You should take small leaks seriously. With time, a small leak can become a big leak. Immediately dealing with the situation is the best way to save water and money.
Become a Leak Sleuth
If the supply line to your toilet breaks and water sprays everywhere, you know the source of trouble. However, other leaks are more subtle in nature.
Water could be filtering slowly from the pipe fittings in your wall. You may not notice the leak until significant damage happens. Even if your water meter tells you that you don’t have a leak right now, you know that a leak could develop at any time. It is good to keep your eyes open for the clues.
Wall discoloration indicates that water is leaking behind the drywall and coming through. Yellowish or brownish-colored stains on the ceilings and walls also indicate a leak.
Some leaks are entirely silent. For example, if water leaks and then travels down a stud in your wall, you won’t notice it. For others, a dripping sound indicates a leak inside your wall. You may need to put a cup to the wall and listen to identify the leak’s location.
Bubbles in your paint or wallpaper indicate that the wallboard is wet. Your wallpaper or paint is no longer adhering tightly to the wall. If you see a bulge in your wallboard, this indicates extensive damage. You may need to replace your wallboard.
A musty smell indicates a persistent leak. With time, leaks lead to mold growth. You may even see black splotches on the outside of your wall. This is a red flag that indicates a dangerous leak that needs to be addressed by professionals immediately.
What to Do When You Find a Leak
Finding a leak in your plumbing system can be stressful. At Blue Bear Plumbing, we are here to help. Our technicians are available 24 hours a day to address the indoor comfort concerns of all of our neighbors in Pembroke and the greater Boston area.
Do you want to minimize the chances of a leak happening in the future? Our team stands ready to help you with planned service and maintenance of your HVAC and plumbing systems. We are equipped and trained to handle repairs, replacements, and installations of any HVAC or plumbing system you need.
Our complete line of services includes air conditioning, heating, and plumbing installation and maintenance, indoor air quality solutions, and 24/7 emergency services. We provide repairs without downtime. Our goal is to help you keep your home cozy and comfortable and your major systems working efficiently year after year. Contact Blue Bear Plumbing today to learn more about the convenient, affordable perks that come from working with experienced indoor comfort professionals.