Plumbing issues are common in a homeowner’s life.
Water leaks can range from minor issues, such as a leaky faucet, to more significant ones, such as a large-scale pipe burst. Some of these problems are easy to fix, although others require a lot of arduous effort. Basic plumbing issues shouldn’t be a big deal if you’re a reasonably handy homeowner.
However, an overwhelming majority of these problems need a professional to fix, that too, as soon as possible. The more a plumbing job is put off, the more it’ll eventually cost to fix it. The same goes for simple plumbing issues; they too should be solved as soon as they are identified.
So, if you’re wondering how to find and repair water leaks, we have just the guide for you.
Common Causes Of Toilet Leaks
A toilet that refuses to stop running is quite a common sight. No amount of jiggling the handle will make it stop, so the actual cause must be identified and rectified. Some of the common reasons for a leaking toilet are:
1. Fill Valve Breakdown
The fill valve replenishes the water in a toilet tank once flushed. If you peer into the toilet tank and notice water gushing out of a plastic valve, you have a faulty fill valve.
2. Issues With The Fill Valve Float
The fill valve float determines when the toilet tank stops filling up with water after a flush. If the float isn’t functioning correctly, water will keep filling the toilet tank, and eventually, it’ll leak into the bowl.
3. Problem With The Flush Valve Flapper
A flush valve flapper is a small rubber structure that sits above the flush valve in a toilet tank. It is attached with a chain to the flusher, but it can lose its seal and become worn out over time. This, in turn, leads to an influx of water inside the toilet bowl.
This leak is tough to detect since it doesn’t make much sound. However, a little trick using food colouring or dye can help identify it. Put a few drops of the dye into the toilet tank and check the bowl after 15 minutes. If you notice any colour in the bowl, the flush valve flapper is the culprit.
Common Causes For Leaky Bathtubs And Showers
These are harder to identify than a toilet leak and are usually costly to repair if left alone for far too long. The most challenging thing about such leaks is how difficult it is to confirm that a leak exists and where it is located.
There’s a lot of water each time someone showers, so it can be easy to mistake a leak for regular water accumulation. However, if you notice a small puddle forming around the drain, or if the water refuses to drain and instead leaks into the bedroom floor, you might need repair.
Here are some of the common reasons for shower leaks:
1. Grout And Caulk
You’ll notice that there’s usually a seal around the base of the shower or bathtub. If this seal is ancient and worn out, water could be seeping past it into the floorboards. This can, in turn, lead to the formation of mould and rotting wood.
2. Drain And Valve Gaskets
Gaskets in the shower diverter valve or the tub drain are yet another source of leaky showers. A shower diverter valve prompts the water to come out of the showerhead, and a leak in this part might be tough to spot for an unskilled homeowner.
Common Causes Of Leaky Faucets
The steady drip of leaky water doesn’t only waste the invaluable resource in the long run but also leads to a very annoying background sound. However, some leaks might go undetected because they don’t make a dripping sound. Here is how to spot them:
1. Leaks Toward The Base
These leaks may not be very noticeable until the water is turned on and usually occur due to a malfunctioning 0-ring. If you’re good with tools and know to plumb, you can quickly fix this issue at home.
2. Leaks Below The Sink
These can be pretty tricky to repair and often cause the most damage. Tell-tale signs of a leaky sink are mould, excessive dampness, and water stains. You can attempt to fix this issue by tightening the p-trap connection and the water supply. However, if that doesn’t work, a professional might be needed.
3. Leaks In The Faucet Head
If the dripping water is not frequent, a leaky faucet head may go unnoticed. An excellent way to check for this leak is to dry the sink entirely and then place a small bowl in it. If water accumulates in the bowl, you may have a plumbing issue.
In most cases, replacing the faucet cartridge works. However, if the faucet is too old, it may need a replacement.
Other Common Causes For Leaks
1. Leaks Due To An Ancient Plumbing System
If your pipes are decades old, then natural wear and tear over time might be causing them to leak.
2. Natural Causes
Sometimes, the roots of certain trees and plants grow out of control and protrude into the drainage and piping. When this happens, cracks develop on the surfaces of the pipes, and leaks occur.
3. Very High Water Pressure
Consequences Of A Water Leak
1. Damage To The Structure
Leaking water isn’t always obvious- sometimes, it occurs in places one can’t see, which complicates things.
For instance, if water leaks behind a wall, a floor or above the ceiling, significant damage may happen before the homeowner becomes aware of it. Early signs of this kind of damage include slow-dripping water or the appearance of bubbles and cracks in walls.
Ignoring these warning signs could lead to the deterioration of the wood frame that supports the house. Rotting wood increases the risk of a ceiling collapse and the cost of repairing the leak. Thus, we recommend dealing with a leak the moment you find one.
Yet another result of an overlooked water leak is mould, which can spread in merely a day or two. When the moisture from the leak comes into contact with the humidity present in the atmosphere, mould spores germinate and start spreading.
Although household mould isn’t as toxic as asbestos, it is harmful and can cause allergic reactions in people with asthma or sensitivity.
3. Water Waste
You might think that most water loss might be due to a bog burst. However, even small leaks can amount to a lot over time.
If you live in an area where water is a scarce resource, then a leaky toilet problem could mean lots of dollars in wasted water.
What Can Be Done About A Water Leak?
So, what do you do about a water leak at home? Homeowners can fix small leaks, but major leaks require a skilled professional. A plumber can accurately diagnose the problem and recommend a minimally-invasive, affordable solution to tackle it. In our guide above, we have mentioned which leaks can be handled at home and need expert help.
Fixing Your Water Leak
Before we sign off, we’d like to leave you with a small tip that helps to diagnose leaks.
First, ensure that all faucets and water appliances are turned off. Next, locate the water metre and note down the reading. Wait for around half an hour, and recheck the metre reading. If you notice that the number has gone up, then there’s probably a leak in your home somewhere.
If you are still stuck, please reach out to the professional Perth plumbers at Woolf Plumbing. Our team have the equipment and experience to detect and repair water leaks for residential and commercial clients. So, call us today!
We’ve reached the end of our guide with this, and we hope it helped. Take care and stay safe!