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Leaking Water Pipes?. Print Bookmark

Plumbing Problems | Moisture Problems | Water Pipes

Leaking pipes waste water and can cause significant damage to your home. Pipes often leak for long periods of time before you detect the problem. In many cases, water leaks from one area and runs along the pipe to deposit in another area. Mold and mildew thrive in these moist environments, which can be hazardous to your health. Inspecting your pipes regularly for leaks can prevent costly damage.
Turn off your water at the main valve, which is usually located at the meter. Note the water-usage reading on the meter, and record the reading each hour the water is turned off. Increased usage even when the water is shut off is an indicator that you may have a leaking pipe somewhere in the house, typically in the main water line. Smaller leaks may not show up, so you have to examine each area of you home.
Check each toilet around the base. Soft, cracked or bubbled flooring around the base are indicators of leaks in the pipes beneath. Replacing the toilet's wax seal often solves the problem, but sometimes the leak may be in the drain pipe.

Examine all visible pipe joints, such as those under sinks and in Crawl Spaces and on pipes connecting appliances. Use a flashlight in cramped areas to see all joints clearly. Look for warped cabinet bottoms or stains, which indicate a leaking pipe. The areas where pipes join are a common site for leaks to occur because of broken seals, corrosion or cracks.
Examine the floor around appliances that use water, such as your dishwasher, and areas where pipes run beneath the flooring. Warping, a spongy feel when you step down, buckling, stains or cracks are signs of leaking pipes under or near the floor.
Lift the flooring up and examine the subfloor beneath. Black stains and wet spots are signs of a leaking pipe beneath the floor. Look for stains, cracks or bubbling in ceilings and walls that are directly beneath bathrooms. Water that leaks from hidden pipes will pool for a period of time before you see signs on your ceiling or walls.

Compare your current water bills with older ones. If they show a significant increase in your water usage, you may have a leaking water main.


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