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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.

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