A leak in the plumbing can cause a lot of problems for property owners. Larger leaks can soak into wood and lead to damaged flooring and even warped or softened structural support beams. Even small leaks can stain and ruin sheetrock walls and ceilings. Moisture that’s trapped can often become a breeding ground for harmful molds that can make a dwelling or business unfit for habitation. Here are some easy hacks you can use for detecting a plumbing leak.
Read your water bills
If your water bill suddenly jumps up by a couple hundred dollars from one month to the next, that’s a good sign that either the water department has made a mistake, or you’ve got a major leak. Toilets that seem to never stop running can waste a lot of water. But a serious leak you never knew about often means there’s a loose or broken pipe under the house or within a wall that you can’t see. Even smaller spikes in your water bill could indicate a problem. If your bill increases sharply, and there’s no good reason for it (such as an additional house guest or new sprinkler system), it might well be a leak. According to the EPA, the average household wastes 10,000 gallons per year.
If you suspect you are wasting water, the first thing to check is the toilets. Even if you can’t hear it running, there may a slow leak that occurring 24/7 and running up your water usage. A simple way to test this is to pour a jar of food coloring or other dye into the toilet tank (note: some dyes may actually change the interior color of the tank itself). Let the dye settling and distribute for a while, then come later and check the toilet. If you can see that the dye has now reached the tank, you have a faulty flush seal that’s dribbling water from the tank – which is constantly refilled, so your toilet is wasting water whether you use it or not.
A quicker solution than waiting for your water bill is to check your water meter. If you can’t find any water leaks, but suspect there is one, check the numeric reading on your water meter that tracks how many gallons are coming in. Wait awhile, perhaps a few hours or even overnight, without using any water. Then come back for a new reading and compare it to the previous one. If there’s any change at all between the two readings, that water is coming in and going somewhere. You have a leak. If that number is significant you have a serious leak.