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Water leaks: Where to look and what to do

Water damage caused by defective washing machine.

Water leaks are often inevitable, regardless of the age or
condition of your home. The smallest of leaks in pipes,
appliances or fixtures – interior or exterior – can ultimately
result in unexpectedly high water bills or worse. Excess
moisture caused by leaks can create issues of mold, and more
severe leaks can lead to costly water damage. Homeowners can
be proactive in recognizing the possible sources of leaks to
avoid the potential for professional restoration.
Interior leaks:

The most likely sources
Some leaks are more easily detectable than others: Water
spots on ceilings or walls or the annoying sound of a toilet
running long after being used. But others are less likely to be
found until it’s too late. Knowing where to look for potential
leaks can mitigate the possibility of extensive damage
requiring major repairs and restoration.
Here are some of the more common sources of interior leaks:

 Water heaters: As water tanks age, the greater the
likelihood of leaks in the drain pipes, and damaged or
overflowing drain pans.

 Toilets: The flapper at the bottom of the tank is often the
culprit for leaking toilets, but the problem could be more
severe of there are corrodes or rusting pipes.

 Faucets & Showers: Worn gaskets or seals will result in
the endless, annoying “drip” that is usually more
damaging to your wallet than the home itself. Also,
making sure to apply fresh caulk or grout to sinks,
showers and tubs will significantly lessen the possibility
of leaks.

Exterior leaks: Check the garden…and the pool.
Leaks originating from outside the home may be less
noticeable than those occurring inside. But the resulting
expense via higher utility bills can be just as impactful. And
excess surface water can cause extensive damage to patios,
porches and decks and, potentially, your home’s foundation.
These are some of the most common checkpoints for potential
exterior leaks:

 Hose-bibs: We often call these “faucets” or “spigots,” but
hose-bibs are where you connect your garden hose. Every
home usually has at least one or two, and they can often
be the source of a slow but steady leak.

 Irrigation systems: Leaks among in-ground irrigation
vales or sprinkler heads can be the least detectable, at
least until a small geyser begins spouting from your edge
of your lawn. Regular maintenance from an irrigation
system professional can keep problems to a minimum.

 Swimming pools: Everyone loves the thought of a
beautiful in-ground pool, but leaks can frequently develop
in the pump/filtration system. Also, noticeable drops in
the water level can be a sign of surface cracks in the
pool’s walls or floor.

So you’ve found a leak. Now what?

Without knowing the severity of the problem, you may need to
stop the water supply to the home. If you know where the
shut-off valve is located, turn off the water and see if the meter
is still turning. If it continues to turn, the leak is between the
meter and the house. A leak in the main water line can be
detected on the surface by a soft muddy area, or grass that is
greener or growing much faster than other areas of the lawn.
If the main water valve is shut off and the meter has stopped
moving, the leak is somewhere in the house.
Some basic household leaks can be repaired fairly easily. But if
there is any question as to the severity or the exact location of
the leak, it is highly recommended that you call a professional
plumber. Finding the approximate location of the leak can be
extremely helpful to the plumber (and more cost effective for
you if the professional doesn’t have to search for the source of
the problem).

When a minor leak causes a major problem, who do you
turn to?

If not addressed effectively, the smallest leaks can result in
significant water damage requiring the attention of trusted,
experienced experts. Sincerely Yours has been handling water
damage emergencies in the Columbia area since 1959. Their
experienced restoration specialists will serve your needs with
the highest level of integrity and professionalism.