Water leaks at home can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year. Not only is this bad for our natural resources, but it’s also taxing on your wallet.
The key to making sure this doesn’t happen to you is understanding why leak prevention is so important.
Leak Damage Around the House
Rust. Mold. Rot. High water bills.
These are just a few of the problems that can happen when water gets somewhere that it’s not supposed to be.
Simple leaks can lead to burst pipes, floods, and major water damage to your floors, walls, furniture, and other possessions.
All of these can be very expensive to repair or replace.
Inspecting for leaks and taking steps to prevent them will prevent all of these problems, help keep your house in pristine condition, and can even save you 10 percent on your water bill.
Determining if You Have a Leak
Before you go searching your house for a leak that may not be there, there's a simple test you can do to determine if water is leaking somewhere in your home.
Here's what you have to do:
- Make sure no one in the house uses the water
- Check the water meter reading and write it down
- Leave the water alone (don’t use it) for two hours
- Check the water meter reading again after the two hours
- Calculate if any water was used when nobody was running it (if so, you’ve got yourself a leak)
Making Sure Leaks Aren't a Problem
Stopping leaks is as easy as preventative maintenance.
That includes doing regular visual inspections of your faucets, toilets, appliances, and pipes to make sure there's no water damage, corrosion, visible leaks, or other problems.
It’s also important to make sure that everybody in the house knows not to put anything other than water down the drains, and not to flush anything that shouldn’t be in the toilet.
You should also avoid using harsh drain cleaners, keep your water pressure at the right level, and inspect and maintain your water heater, sump, septic system, plumbing system, and water-using appliances regularly.
Where to Look: Finding and Stopping Leaks
If your water meter test shows that you've got a leak, the first step is to locate it.
Start by checking anything that you can see, such as appliances, pipes, faucets, and toilets.
Then move on to a visual and touch test.
Inspect the walls, floors, and ceilings for moisture, mold, water damage, heaving and bubbling, and other signs of water.
Finally, walk around the outside of your house and inspect your yard.
Check for puddles, softness, moisture, and other problems that could be coming from the sewer or main water line.
Expert tip: To test toilets for leaks, drop some food coloring into the tank and wait for 30 minutes. Then, check to see if the color has drained into the bowl below because this indicates a problem.