A leak anywhere in the house should be cause for concern. While some leaks are difficult to locate, others have a more obvious source. But, invariably, when a leak is left unrepaired for long, it causes damage that becomes more extensive (and expensive) to mitigate, increases your water bill and can lead to the growth of mold – a major health hazard. The water lost to leaks is also a valuable resource that needs to be conserved and used wisely. Our team at Adams and Son Plumbing wants our Central Florida neighbors to be able to recognize and locate plumbing leaks so they’re quickly repaired.
While most leaks occur around the shower, bathtub, toilets, sinks and drains, others may occur inside walls or under floors – where they can’t be seen.
Watch out for the following household water leaks:
Drain leaks from the shower and tub
Look for water collecting around the drain, and damp flooring. A severe leak that has gone undetected can loosen floor tiles. For a second-floor bathroom, stains on the first floor ceiling below is another danger sign. Note: This is a good rule-of-thumb indication for any second-floor plumbing leak. Look at your first-floor ceilings on a regular basis and call a plumber if you notice new water stains.
A broken or loose flange causes water to seep from the area where the waste pipe connects to the toilet. This can cause extensive damage to your floor, ceiling and joists, as well as the subfloor. Look for water oozing from the toilet base and the aforementioned first-floor ceiling stains, if applicable.
Leaks from under the rim of the sink/sink drains
Water seeping under the rim or below the faucet can damage countertops and cabinets in the kitchen or bath. Look for water stains, dampness or a puddle in the lower cabinet; loose laminate close to the sink; deteriorating caulk or a loose faucet base. Drain leaks usually occur at the slip joints in the drain pipe or at the drain. Since these leaks tend to be hidden behind items stored in the cabinet, they can go unnoticed for a long time, causing damage to your cabinets, floors and/or ceilings.
Supply leaks from the sink
Leaks can occur in the water supply line to the kitchen or bath. Because these leaks are under the bathroom vanity or kitchen sink, they can go unnoticed for a long time. Supply leaks can damage your floor and surrounding areas. Look for dampness inside cabinets, or water stains on first-floor ceilings. If you suspect a leak, check the supply connections by dabbing with a dry towel.
Technology to the Rescue!
But what if you’re not home when a pipe springs a leak? A welcome addition to the IOT, Internet of Things, home monitoring system Notion consists of small sensors that can be placed in any location in the house that you want to keep tabs on. The homeowner is notified via mobile app about the status of every connected system. Monitors can be placed near plumbing fixtures, air conditioning units and water heaters to detect water leaks. Notion can also alert homeowners to a wide variety of other situations that may need attention, such as open doors, windows and room temperature changes.
Notion recently partnered with HomeAdvisor for its Plumber Matching service, which integrates with HomeAdvisor to send a water leak alert to the homeowner, along with an option to immediately connect with a professional plumber. After the homeowner fills out their contact information, HomeAdvisor’s technology matches them with an available area plumber. Once matched, the plumber will call the homeowner directly to schedule service.
What to do before the plumber arrives
In addition to our recommendations in our blog post, “5 Things to Do Immediately After You Find a Leak,” our colleagues at Dipple Plumbing, Inc., Greenville, SC, offer the following advice on plumbing leaks:
Turn off the water – The first thing you should do when you discover a leak is to turn off any water flow to the area. Depending on the area of the leak, you may need to turn off the water supply to the entire house.
Clamp the pipe – If the leak is in a place where you have access to it, you can try clamping some rubber sheeting onto the site of the leak. This acts as a sort of bandage, and may be able to seal the crack for a short time.
Use plumbing repair tape – Plumbing repair tape is made of a special silicone material and can be bought at a home improvement store. When wrapped tightly around the leaking area of the pipe, it bonds itself to the pipe and forms a seal that should hold until the plumber arrives.
We at Adams and Son Plumbing offer the usual cautions to those attempting DIY plumbing repairs. Don’t mistake a temporary fix (such as those above) for a permanent repair. Know the limits of your expertise – taking on a project beyond your abilities could make the problem worse. Our state-certified master plumbers have years of experience repairing leaks in homes and commercial properties. Contact us to be assured of the highest possible level of professional service and results.