A leaky faucet is a common nuisance. Easily repaired by those with remedial DIY skills, it’s considered a minor issue. However, not all plumbing leaks that start out small are so obvious – or quick to fix! Those that go undetected eventually escalate to cause big problems. Our master plumbers at Adams and Son Plumbing have seen it all during our more than 60 years in business, so we offer the following danger signs to look for and consequences you can expect if they’re ignored. In this case, ignorance is definitely not bliss!
Mold living in your walls
If you’re a fan of cable TV shows about rehabbing or flipping homes, you’ve seen vacant properties with extensive mold damage. This is the result of an ongoing pipe leak behind a wall or under the foundation slab. The water leak dampens the drywall, eventually seeping throughout, causing wet spots that are evidenced by water stains. If the leak isn’t repaired, mold and mildew grow and spread throughout the affected area.
Not only is this unsightly, but mold is a serious health hazard – especially for the elderly and those with respiratory issues. The presence of black mold (the most dangerous) requires not only the services of a mold remediation company, but also the removal of large wall sections. Mold remediation can cost from about $500 to $3,000, while replacing 100 square feet of drywall can cost at least $400.
One of the responsibilities of home ownership is to be aware of your home’s environment. A musty odor is the first indication of a behind-the-wall water leak. Don’t make the mistake of trying to cover the odor with an air freshener. Try to determine the room in which the odor is strongest, then call a plumber to locate and repair the leak. Yes, you will have to call a home repair professional to repair the drywall and/or tile that needs to be removed in order to access the pipe. But attending to it sooner rather than later will prevent further damage and additional expense.
The high cost of water damage repair
We now present what we hope is compelling evidence of what happens when a leak goes undetected and the resulting water damage unaddressed. The good people at Reliable Restoration of Norcross, GA, have also seen it all, and describe it in an informative article that we summarize here. We encourage you to read it in its entirety.
The main points are as follow:
Water damage lowers the value of your home – When it comes time to sell your home, visible water damage will be listed in the home inspection report, adversely affecting the selling price and raising a red flag to potential buyers, who will most likely continue their house hunt.
Dripping water can lead to holes in your concrete – Even a small leak can wear through concrete, eventually causing major damage to your home’s foundation.
Water damage can ruin your electrical system – Water and electricity don’t mix. A water leak that makes its way to your home’s electrical system can cause shorts, damage circuits and create a fire hazard.
Break down of carpet – A water leak can saturate your home’s subflooring, carpet pad and carpeting, causing them to break down. Replacing the carpet and carpet pad is expensive enough, but if the subflooring is also affected (as it probably would be), you’ll incur additional repair costs.
Water weakens wooden floors and walls – Wood readily absorbs water, resulting in warping and buckling. According to Angie’s List, hardwood floors cost between $12 and $30 per square foot to replace, after the affected area has been cleaned and the leak repaired.
Water damage can ruin your drywall – With even minimal exposure to water, drywall can quickly turn brittle, swell and facilitate the growth of mold and mildew – the hazards of which were described earlier.
In addition, leaks in your plumbing system can damage plumbing fixtures – such as sinks, faucets and showerheads. Depending on the brand and material you choose, replacing these fixtures can cost you anywhere on average from $100 to $500.
Repair for less, or pay more later
As we covered in our blog post – “How to Locate Plumbing Leaks” – being proactive and observant is essential in addressing plumbing issues before they get out of hand. Keep your eyes open for the following:
- Leaks around toilets, sinks, tubs, showerheads and faucets.
- Damp areas of carpeting.
- Water stains on walls or ceilings.
- A rattling sound from your kitchen faucet – as well as discolored water from the tap.
If you notice a decrease in water pressure, call your water utility to ask if there is an issue affecting your service. If not, you could have a leak. Check your water bill for a sudden increase, even though your water use hasn’t changed. And pay attention to musty odors.
Ultimately, there is no such thing as a “little” plumbing leak. Adams and Son Plumbing is dedicated to serving Central Florida homes and businesses with the highest level of quality and experience. We are family-owned and operated, and all of our plumbers are state-certified master plumbers. Contact us to get – and keep – your home’s plumbing in top repair.