A small, unnoticed and unattended water leak in your house can result in big worries. Water leaks have engaged great minds as damage caused by leaking water has brought down big ships and huge dams. It was Benjamin Franklin who famously said “A small leak will sink a great ship.”
The point is that houses are susceptible to great damage by leaking water. Unless located and fixed quickly, they can cause permanent and expensive damage to the structural integrity of your house by damaging the foundation of the house or its walls.
Now, how does one go about locating a water leak in the house? You can call in the plumber or become Sherlock Holmes to investigate “It is my business to know what other people do not know”. Here’s how you can locate a water leak in your house.
Begin at the metered water line
Begin at the beginning, the metered point where the water line enters your house. Ensure all taps, showers and valves inside the house are shut tight and no water is being used inside the house or outside in the garden or in the pool. Better still, shut off the main water valve. Note the water reading on the meter. Take a reading again after three or four hours. If there’s a difference in the two meter readings it means you have a water leak.
The leak can be inside your house or in the water line buried underground, between the meter and your house. How do you investigate further? Look for tell tale signs like a wet surface or damp ground above the surface. It could be a puddle that refuses to dry up, or a dark spot on a concrete or tiled path. A grassy spot that is greener than the rest of the lawn is often a sign of leakage.
Sometimes, leaking water can flow back and flood the meter. So, if there has been no rain recently and the meter is flooded, you have a definite leak.
To fix these underground leaks you need to call a plumber or the utility service. Never attempt digging under the ground on your own. It could be dangerous with unseen cables and faulty electrical wiring. Or you could end up damaging or destroying something that’s in perfect working condition.
Look for damp spots, condensation and other signs
In many cases, the signs of damage appear at a spot located far from the actual point of leak. This is because water flows. Warps, discoloration, molds, loose tiles, paint that’s peeling off on walls, ceilings or floors can also indicate a leak.
Leaks in toilets can end up wasting hundreds of gallons of water. Even a few drops of water leaking 24×7 can lead to colossal water wastage over the 365 days in a year. Look for signs of tiny water whirlpools or other unusual water movement in the toilet bowl. Or else, pour a little dye or food coloring in the flush tank and without flushing the toilet, check for the color in the bowl. If the color is visible in the bowl, there’s a leak in the troublesome toilet. Sometimes, the flush handle, the rubber valve and the flush level bar need to be adjusted or replaced to prevent water leaking from the toilet tank into the toilet bowl.
In most cases of leaking faucets, a worn out rubber washer is the root cause of the problem. Repairing it is not difficult if you have the appropriate tools. Shut off the valve under the sink and replace the faulty washer. Sometimes, the entire faucet may need to be replaced.
Shower heads that spill
Showers that leak and spill water are easy to detect as in most cases the leaking water is clearly visible. Once again, you can repair the damage yourself or call the plumber.
Other sources of water leaks
Water heaters show tell-tale signs of leakage. Dripping water, signs of condensation or corrosion on the body of the heater are possible indications of leakage. Never open or attempt to repair a heater on your own as faulty repairs can be very dangerous.
Other places that you need to check for signs of water leakage are the underground or overhead water storage tanks, the swimming pool and the water fountains in your garden.
Be vigilant always and look out for early warning signs of water leaking. Timely action is vital as ‘a stitch in time saves nine.’ Remember the words of Charles Comiskey, the American Basketball Major League player, manager and team owner “It is the small things in life which count; it is the inconsequential leak which empties the biggest reservoir.”