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What to Look for When Locating Water Leaks

undefinedLocating water leaks are unfortunately a common problem for any homeowner, but with the right know-how and maintenance, they don’t have to be. Over time your plumbing is susceptible to a variety of problems, and a leak can sprout just about anywhere. Water leaks can hard to find, but if left alone, they can eventually lead to costly and dangerous damages to your home. Luckily there are a few tricks for finding the source of any leak.

The Varying Types of Leaks & Locating Water Leaks

Locating water leaks is not easy because your plumbing is complicated, and what’s tricky is not only trying to find where the leak is coming from but what type of leak you’re dealing it. Some leaks are easier to spot than others, such as a leaky roof or dripping pipe, but not all leaks are obvious. Most of your plumbing hides between walls, underneath the floor, and just out of reach in your drains. Detecting what the leak is and where to find to it, means you know what to look for. Luckily all leaks have their warning signs. To best spot a leak, here are a few different types and what to look for.

  • Ceiling leaks. When in doubt, look up. Roof leaks tend to be more common during the winter season when snow and ice dams build on top of your roof, allowing water to seep through. The most obvious sign of a ceiling leak is if you have a wet ceiling, watch for dark stains, peeling paint, and mold. To find the source of the leak, you’ll need to get up into the attic. There all you may need to do is a quick scan to find the source of the leak. Check the underside of the roof, if there is a leak, the wood could be stained a darker color. If your attic has insulation, it can harder to find the leak. Walk towards where you suspect the leak is, and pull away insulation from the floor as well as the ceiling for signs of water damage. If there are any pipes visible, inspect them for damage as well.
  • Splash leaks. Splash leaks are a common bathroom leak and occur simply when water escapes the shower curtain or door. It sounds like a minor problem, but eventually, the water leaked out of your shower can seriously damage where the shower stall meets your floor. Signs of damage include curling vinyl flooring or loose tiles, peeling flaking paint, water stains on the ceiling or joists below, or mold spots on the wall or floor. To find where the leak is coming from, you’ll want to splash water on the door and frame. It may take a few minutes for leaks to show up. Check the shower door and caulking for any gaps where the water can get through.
  • Drain leaks. Especially when made of plastic or fiberglass, your bathtub or shower can experience drain leaks, which happens when water sneaks around the outside of the drain. These type of leaks can ruin the flooring in your bathroom. If you’re looking for a drain leak, check for water stains on the ceiling or joists, as well as loose flooring near the tub or shower stall. One way to find the source is by plugging the drain of your tub or shower and filling it with a small pool of water. Mark where the edge of the water sits with a shampoo or soap bottle and wait an hour. If the water level goes down, you have a drain leak.
  • Toilet flange leaks. The toilet is one of the most frequently used appliances in the home, that sometimes the result could be a toilet flange leak. These leaks occur where the toilet pipe connects to the sewer pipe below, allowing water to seep out with every flush, which can cause tremendous damage to your bathroom floor over time. The warning signs you’ll need to watch for are water pooling around the base of the toilet, loose or damaged flooring, stains on the ceiling below, or a toilet that rocks when you push against it. Finding the source of this leak may involve measuring the ceiling stain (if there is one) from below. The source most likely is a damaged flange, which can be found either at floor level or just beneath it.

It’s Time to be Proactive with Your Plumbing

Locating water leaks is challenging because your plumbing is complicated, and a leak can happen just about anywhere. Knowing where and how a leak can occur, can help you find the problem early. Some leaks, however, may need professional help to find. When in doubt, a licensed plumber has the right tools and training to detect and determine the exact source of any water leak. Water can be devastating to your home. Don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with a plumber today, and keep water where it belongs, inside your pipes.

Call Essig Plumbing & Heating today for more information on locating water leaks!