water leak
How to Detect a Water Leak Your Home: Signs to Look For + Solutions

Whether you live in an apartment, studio, condo or house, water damage can wreak significant havoc on your living spaces and end up costing you thousands of dollars. Even drying out a property that has not been structurally compromised with mold or had damage done to the carpeting and drywall can cost up to $2,700 after a leak. If restoration and repairs need to be done, that figure could rise to $7,500 and beyond.

Not to mention the money you would be wasting every month on your water bill by having leaky faucets, appliances or piping. Letting leaks continue to drip or allowing toilets to constantly run can cost you anywhere from $1 to $70 per month! It is always a good idea to be vigilant in your home, and there are some simple and smart ways to detect a leak before it’s too late.

How to Spot Water Leaks

One of the easiest ways to tell if you have a water leak is by keeping an eye on your water bills. Compare your most recent water bill to another one you got 3-5 months ago. If there has been a substantial increase with no change made in your regular water use, you may have a leak.

Another proactive step you can take is checking your water meter. The first thing you are going to want to do is turn off the water supply to your home and make sure no appliances that use water (dishwasher, washing machine, etc.) are running. Then go out to your meter and look for any movement or changes. An immediate change with no water running in your house almost always means you have a leak.

If you don’t see any immediate change, keep the water off for a couple of hours and check back with the meter because some underground leaks are subtle, minor or slow-moving but they can still cause a lot of damage and cost.

Knowing what is normal in terms of water usage for your home is helpful too. For example, let’s say you live in an apartment with one roommate. It is typical for water usage to be between 80 and 100 gallons per day. Bump that up to a household of 4, and you are looking at about 400 gallons per day or roughly 12,000-13,000 gallons per month. If your household average lies outside of these ranges, you may have a problem.

One tell-tale sign of a leak is mold, and a dead giveaway that you have mold is an unpleasant odor in or around your home. Typically mold will smell like wet and dirty clothing, and rotted wood.

Checking inside and behind your cabinets for visible leaks is an excellent place to start too. Keep an eye out for pooling water behind or around your appliances, discolored drywall or stagnant water around your bathtub and toilet.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the exterior of your home as well. Underground irrigation, drip systems, and sprinklers all rely on piping that can easily become damaged or compromised. This will typically result in a spot in your lawn or your backyard that is flooded or consistently has pooling water on it. Also, check your outdoor faucets to make sure they have been shut off all the way and are not dripping.

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What is Likely to Cause A Water Leak?

There are a few usual suspects when it comes to water leaks, and you would do well to know what they are and how you can know for sure if they are indeed leaking water.

The first place you should look is your sinks and faucets. If your sink piping is leaking, then you have probably noticed that the water pressure has dropped. If you look in the cabinet under your sink, you will most likely see puddles of water directly under the piping as well.

If you suspect that the faucet spout itself is leaking, try placing a cup directly under it or placing a paper towel under the spout. Make sure the faucet is shut off entirely and if you see water on the towel or in the glass, you have a leak.

Showerheads that become scaly can clog and force leaks from other areas. Check to see if your showerhead is emitting water where it shouldn’t be. To test your tub for leaks, try sealing the tub with heavy-duty duct tape and filling it with an outside source of water. Let the water sit for about a half-hour and check for any visual signs of leakage on the floor or if you are testing a second-story tub, on the ceiling directly under it. This will tell you whether or not your shower floor is leaking.

Underground water leaks can be detected using a dye test. A dye test involves placing a tablet of colored, non-staining dye in the main drains or downspouts of your home and flushing it out with water. Where you see any coloration that correlates with the dye color is a good place to start hunting for a leak.

The dye can also be used to test toilets for leaks. Simply place some dye or food coloring in the tank of your toilet and wait for about 20 minutes to see if any of the dye shows up in the bowl. Hearing water run long after you have flushed either is also a sign of a leaking toilet.

How to Prevent Water Leaks

If you take the time, you can prevent leaks from occurring in the first place. The best way to prevent leaks is to have your home checked annually by a professional plumber or home services contractor. Regrouting and recaulking as needed, is also a great way to prevent water damage.

Now that you know the tell-tale signs of leaks and what is most likely to cause leaks, there is no better way to prevent a leakage than by keeping a sharp eye on these areas of your home and the many warning signs.


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Everything You Need To Know When Hiring A Plumber

There are many reasons you might need a plumber but you might have a few concerns before you call one.

In this article, we look at why you might call a plumber, what you should ask before you hire one, and what concerns you might have about having one come into your home.

Common Reasons to Hire a Plumber

Before we dive into what you should look for when hiring a plumber, let’s look at the more common reasons people call for professional help.

  • Low Water Pressure If you’ve noticed the water pressure coming out of your tap isn’t what it used to be, or maybe you never had solid pressure to begin with, a plumber can diagnose whether it’s an issue with a clog in your pipes or if there’s an issue with the municipal water supply.
  • Leaking Faucets Another common problem people face is a dripping or leaky faucet. It’s annoying having to listen to the constant dripping of water, and it costs you money in water you’re paying for but not using.
  • Running Toilets Like the leaking faucet, a toilet that runs constantly costs you money in wasted water and is annoying to listen to. Most times, a running toilet can be fixed by yourself, however there are instances where only a professional can get the job done.
  • Clogged or Slow Drains Another common problem many homeowners face are clogged drains or slow drains. Many times people reach for a chemical drain cleaner to fix these problems, and while those products do work, they can damage your pipes. Getting a thorough drain cleaning by a professional is the best way to clear your drains and ensure the safety of your plumbing.
  • Burst Pipes If you live in an area that experiences frequently freezing temperatures, then you’re at risk for frozen pipes that burst. A burst pipe is an emergency that is best left to a professional plumber.

Tips on Hiring a Plumber

So, you’ve decided you need a plumber and you’re ready to make the call. Here are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect company to do the job.

  • Get A Licensed Plumber It’s essential you find a plumber that’s both licensed and insured. While it’s true you can find an unlicensed plumber who will do the job cheaper, you run the risk of shoddy work and future problems you will pay for later. Also, make sure to check the plumber’s ratings and reviews and don’t be afraid to ask for references you can contact.
  • Ask For Help Sure, you can find almost anything online, but when you’re looking for a good plumber, ask the people you work with or even your neighbors. Chances are they’ve had someone come in for plumbing work and will recommend them to you. Sometimes the best people are found via word of mouth.
  • Make Sure They Meet Your Needs Do you have a specific schedule to follow? Do you need the job done in a certain timeframe? Make sure the plumber you hire is a good match for what you want and need to avoid frustration and a bad experience.
  • Talk To More Than One Before you decide on which plumber to go with, talk to a few different companies and see if they’re a right fit for what you need and want. Also, be sure to ask them if they have references you can contact and be wary of any that say no.
  • Ask About A Warranty or Guarantee Before you put out your hard-earned money on a plumber, ask them if they stand behind their work with a guarantee or warranty. Also find out how long these guarantees last and be sure to get it in writing.
  • Go For Experience Like anything, experience counts. So, when looking for a plumber, find one that’s been in business for a long time and has the experience. While you might pay more for someone like this, you can usually rest assured the job will be done right the first time.

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What To Know When Hiring a Plumber

Many plumbing problems can be solved with a little know-how and by following some simple instructions. For example, a toilet that won’t quit running can usually be fixed by replacing a few parts found at the local hardware store. This job can be done in a few minutes and you can find instructions online that are easy enough to follow. However, there are many problems that are best solved by a licensed professional.

Before you call a plumber, you should have a good idea of what is the problem and explain it with the best details you can to help the technician get a better idea of what to expect when they arrive. If you have a water leak, tell them where it is and whether it’s something that can wait until they schedule you or if it’s an emergency. Also, know what is your budget so you don’t end up agreeing to work that you can’t afford.

What Should I Ask When Hiring a Plumber?

When hiring a plumber, make sure you ask them if they’re licensed as mentioned above. Also, ask them about their experience and how long they’ve been in business. Make sure you check out their reviews and ask them for references and ask them if they’ll provide an estimate before they begin work.

Common Concerns When Hiring a Plumber

Calling someone to come into your home to work can make some people uncomfortable. And while most licensed plumbers are reputable, there are instances where bad things happen. It’s a good idea to ask if the plumbing company you hire performs drug tests and background checks on their workers. Also, don’t make the mistake of hiring solely based on low price. Many times a low price means subpar work. Last, ask if they can complete the job according to your schedule if you’re in a rush.