The signs of a water leak in a home or business are often apparent. Wet spots, warped areas or discoloration stains on ceilings, floors, walls, and woodwork are common signs that you have a water leak. Outdoors you may find soft or unusually wet spots in the yard or even a sinkhole that indicates there is a leak or drainage issue. You may also notice a spike or gradual increase in your monthly water bill, even as water usage has remained the same. An unrepaired water leak can do more than cause an unusually high water bill. From prematurely aging nearby plumbing to causing a sinkhole in the backyard, as well as creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew, water leaks often wreak havoc.
The only way to ensure your home or business is free of a water leak — and the extensive property damage caused by water leaks — is to contact an reliable restoration company. Maven Construction Group is available 24/7 for water damage prevention services throughout North Central Florida. Our leak detection services are second to none, and we have the knowledge, tools, and licensing required to properly detect and fix water leaks.
Common Causes Of Water Leaks
As appliances age, the seals around water connectors and doors can wear out and/or break. Condensation on or around the appliance may mean you have a broken seal.
The inconvenience of a clogged drain will sometimes lead to the bigger issue of a clogged line. A clogged line may cause overflowing or even burst pipes.
Rust and other types of corrosion may begin to eat away at your pipes as the plumbing ages. Discolored or warped pipes are leading candidates for an eventual water leak and need to be checked by a plumber as soon as possible.
Damaged Pipe Joints
Pipe joints can deteriorate and these points are often the weakest part in a plumbing line. Pipes that make a ticking or banging noise, especially when the hot water is being used, are a common sign of pipe joints under significant pressure.
Excessive Water Pressure
Excessive and/or uneven water pressure can strain pipes, putting them at risk for breaking and leaking. Most are built to withstand only a specific amount of water pressure.
Water line connectors may become loose over time with wear and use of the appliance, such as a washing machine in the spin cycle. A connector leak will likely have water run directly from the supply line or puddle around the appliance.
Rapid Temperature Changes
Extreme temperature changes can force pipes to expand and contract, leading to cracks and leaks.
Tree & Plant Roots
Growing tree and plant roots encroach on underground pipes, sometimes forcing the pipes to break. New wet patches, sinkholes, or a sudden drop in water pressure are common signs of a water leak.
Common Types Of Water Leaks
Water Supply Line Leaks
Contrary to popular belief, it’s rare to have a loss of water pressure even if there is a water supply line leak. A stream of water is the obvious sign, but a hissing, whooshing, banging or thumping sound may also mean there is a water leak in a pipe. When considering how to fix a leaking water supply line, keep in mind the pipe material, age, and whether the line has had a previous repair.
Regardless of faucet type, washers and gaskets frequently wear out from use and cause leaks. Compression faucets often need new seat washers, whereas ball-type faucets contain many parts, making finding the worn part more tedious.
Shower & Tub Leaks
Re-tightening the shower head or applying pipe tape around the pipe stem can sometimes fix a leak. In bathtubs, aged rubber washers inside the faucet assembly will dry out and leak. If the tub faucet still leaks after replacing the washers, the entire assembly may need to be replaced. A faulty drain seal may also cause a leak. However, a drain leak may be caused by the plumbing below the drain itself.
A toilet leak may be more subtle than other water leaks around the house. If you suspect your toilet is leaking, drop a dye tablet or 10 drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait for 10–15 minutes (don’t flush!). If you see colored water in the bowl, you have a leak.
Outdoor Water Leaks
Many homes in North Central Florida use automatic lawn and sprinkler systems. Unfortunately, many of these systems are underground, making it harder to detect a leak. If you find soft spots on the lawn and/or around the sprinkler system, it’s usually an indication of a leak. Also, if you can hear water running but the system is turned off, there could be a leak.
Concrete Slab Leak
Copper pipes commonly run in a concrete slab, but these pipes rust, corrode, age, and weather over time. The ensuing slab leak may cause the floor above to raise or have a dome portion, or even lift the home’s foundation if undetected and not repaired. If the leaking water line under the slab is a hot water line, warm places on the above floor may appear.
Swimming Pool Leaks
Water leaks aren’t limited to homes and landscaping. Many properties also have a swimming pool with leaks that can be subtle to the casual eye. Pool leaks can be caused by either defects in the pool structure itself or from any of the plumbing related to it. But if you find you’re using more chemicals, the water bill is going up, there are cracks in the pool deck, and/or unexplained water outside the pool, there may be a leak.
How to Find a Water Leak
If you suspect you have a water leak, start by checking your water meter. There are two ways to do this:
- Inspect the leak indicator for movement. If the leak indicator is moving, and you’ve ensured that no water is being used in the home, then you probably have a leak.
- Take a meter reading and check it again after one to two hours. If the meter value has changed, you have a leak.
Underground pressurized pipes make many different sounds when water is leaking from them. Listen for any of these warning sounds:
- Hissing or “whoosh” noises caused by pipe vibration and orifice pressure reduction.
- Splashing or “babbling brook” sound from water flowing around the pipe.
- Rapid beating or thumping from water spray striking the wall of the soil cavity.
- Clinking sounds of stones and pebbles bouncing off the pipe.
The volume of the sounds and the distance from the source of origin depends on several factors, which include the following.
- Water pressure in the pipe
- Pipe material and pipe diameter
- Soil type and compaction
- Depth of soil over the pipe
- Surface cover, such as grass, loose soil, asphalt, concrete slab, etc.