Somehow, water leaks always seem to take homeowners by surprise. Whether it’s the slow dripping of a leaky faucet that drives you mad or a sudden pool of water flooding out from under your kitchen sink after your dishwasher leaks.
Water leaks are never welcome, but you can catch them before they cause lasting damage. If you have a leak you need taken care of right away, call Plumbing by Jake at (702) 948-7201. We even offer 24/7 emergency service for really disastrous leaks when you least expect them.
A Spiking Water Bill
Whether you receive a paper copy or can view it online, look over the details of your water bill on a regular basis. For most people, it’s a pretty consistent expense. Sometimes, you’ll see known spikes in usage, such as watering your lawn and garden more frequently during warm weather.
However, if you see increases in your water bill you can’t trace back to a particular change in your water usage habits, it’s a good sign you have a leak. You may be surprised by how much water you typically use, 400 gallons or more every day for a family of four, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
A leaky toilet alone can waste around 200 gallons of water per day, so you will certainly notice higher usage numbers if there is an issue with leaks. The U.S. Geological Survey has a valuable tool that helps you calculate how much water the dripping faucets in your home waste over time.
Your Senses Are Alerting You
One of the most obvious warning signs that you have a water leak is that you can see it.
If you suspect your toilet may have a leak, try doing the “dye test.” Take the lid off the top of your toilet tank and add a few drops of food coloring. Wait about 30 minutes then check the toilet bowl.
If there is colored water in the toilet bowl and you have not flushed the toilet, you have a leak. Similarly, you can see water dripping from faucets, showerheads, outdoor spigots, and appliances. Dripping water when not in use is a sure sign that something isn’t right.
Saturated areas, pools of water, wet spots, and water rings are also signs of a water leak in the vicinity.
Obviously, if you can hear water dripping, there’s a fair chance it’s due to a leak. Water noises, particularly dripping, behind the wall, a toilet that does not stop running — all are good indicators that you have an active leak.
You turn on your bathroom faucet and feel water trickling out of the base and pooling. Something seems off about your ceiling or wall, so you put your hand on it and it feels damp. You step with your bare feet into an unexpected puddle of water on a rug or carpet.
Check around, you’re likely to find you’re close to a leak.
Because we don’t tend to use outdoor water faucets as frequently, small leaks can get bigger and more serious before they’re noticed. Check for drips from the spigot, pooling water under it, damp walls or mold growth around the faucet, or a prolonged wet ground under or around it.
Pipes and sprinkler systems can also spring leaks underground. If one particular area on your property is frequently saturated with water when it hasn’t been raining or if the ground is soft, you could have a leak. If you have a sprinkler system, a good indicator that there is a leak is if the water pressure drops suddenly becomes lower and does not increase.
Appliances at the End of Their Lives
Do a walkthrough of your home and a little investigative work to write down how old your appliances are, particularly those that use water. When appliances reach the end of their typical lifespan, they begin to fail. Sometimes they fail in a way that leaves lasting water damage.
As your appliances begin to reach “old age,” it’s important to keep a close and regular eye on them to catch small leaks or issues before they become big floods:
- Central air conditioners last an average of 10 to 15 years. Clogged drain lines and drain pan overflow are messy and the reason we’re frequently called in.
- A traditional tank water heater lasts about 10 years while a tankless model lasts about 20 years. Small amounts of condensation around the base of a water heater can be mistaken for a leak so wipe up any water and, if it reappears, see where it reappears from.
- Kitchen and bath faucets work for between 10 and 15 years, while showerheads and toilets can last a lifetime. There may, however, be small parts or components of both that require replacement.
- A washing machine will last about 10 to 15 years. From minor water hose repairs to major to a more catastrophic hole in the water pump, there are multiple ways your washing machine can leak.
- The average lifespan of a dishwasher is 7 to 10 years. Given its close proximity to kitchen cabinets, be sure to take care of even minor dishwasher leaks right away before they leave water-warped wood behind.
What You See When You Can’t See Water
Discolored walls, water stains, bulging ceilings, large bubbles behind paint or wallpaper, and wet baseboards are all signs of water damage that has already occurred. Distant dripping or hissing noises can indicate leaks. A musty smell or presence of mold in a place where it’s not typically wet, damp, or humid is also an indicator that water is present and shouldn’t be.
Call a Plumber Today for Help Finding and Fixing a Water Leak
Call Plumbing by Jake at (702) 948-7201. We can answer your questions about a potential water leak, do a leak inspection, and fix any leaks that are causing you trouble. We even offer annual plumbing maintenance plans to help you spot leaks early and avoid major plumbing repairs in the future.