A leak in your house isn’t just an annoyance—it can also become costly and dangerous. A seemingly harmless leak not only increases your utility bills but it can also require expensive repairs to your home. It can even lead to mold and mildew, which can cause health symptoms.
If you suspect you have a leak in your home, you’ll need to perform some detective work. Examine the following locations for signs of a leak.
If you see water-damaged flooring near your toilet, you probably have a toilet leak.
There are many areas of your toilet that could leak. You might be able to tell where the leak is simply by looking at every inch of your toilet, including inside the tank. If you don’t see the leak, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If color comes into your toilet bowl within a few minutes, there’s likely a problem with your toilet’s flapper valve, the device that lets water pass from the tank to the toilet bowl.
Another common place for a toilet leak is between the toilet and the waste pipe. With this kind of leak, water will seep from the toilet, damaging the flooring. If you have this problem, your toilet might rock when you sit on it. You may need to get your toilet’s flange tightened or get your flange or wax seal replaced.
A third cause for toilet leaks is a flushing mechanism that doesn’t work properly. You may need to replace the handle or tighten the flush level bar and chain.
2. Bathtub and Shower Drain
Continue your investigation in your bathroom by looking at your bathtub or shower. If you see loose flooring near these fixtures or water stains on the ceiling below your bathroom, you might have a drain leak on your hands.
There’s a simple way to tell if the drain is leaking. Plug the drain with a test plug and fill the bathtub or shower with a tiny amount of water. Set something next to the edge of the water to mark its level. Return to the bathtub or shower in an hour. If the puddle has become smaller, the drain is leaking.
3. Hot Water Tank
A common place for a leak is the pressure relief valve on your hot water tank. You could check for a leak by removing the drain pipe. You could also listen for a hissing sound coming from the pipes.
4. Hose Bib
As you look for leaks around your home, have you considered the pipes that you hook your outdoor hoses to? If there is a leak, you might see drips or hear the tell-tale sound of running water near these fixtures.
5. Sink Rim
If you frequently see puddles of water around your sink rim or water damage under your countertop, you have a leak near your sink rim. Fortunately, this problem is fixable. A plumber could fix the issue by tightening the faucet base, tightening the clips under the sink rim, or recaulking the sink rim.
6. Sink Supply
Leaks under your sink can be dangerous because they can go unnoticed for a long time. Make sure to check under your sink for water stains, rotting, and mold. To locate the source of the leak, use a paper towel to find wet areas near the plumbing shutoffs and connections. A plumber may need to tighten the nuts or replace the valve.
Do your faucets constantly drip? You may simply need to get the washer in them replaced. The washer is a part of the faucet that fits under the handle. Call a plumber to replace the washer or make any other repairs your faucet may need.
If you see water puddles after you run your dishwasher, have a professional take a closer look. Various dishwasher parts may require repairs to prevent leaks.
9. Meter Line
If you’ve examined all the other sources on this list and still suspect a leak, you might have a leak in the meter line that runs between your house and the water meter.
To check for a leak, first shut off the water to your house. Next, remove the lid from the meter and look at its dial. Return two hours later and check the dial again. If it has moved, you
probably have a leak between your meter and your house. Another possibility is that you have a leak in your shut off valve. Call a plumber to investigate.
Leaks in your home can quickly damage your floors and walls, leaving you with costly repairs. Performing a thorough leak investigation will help you determine exactly where your home’s water is going to waste. Once you’ve performed your leak investigation, call a trustworthy plumber to make the repairs.