The average home in North America wastes nearly 10,000 gallons of water per year through leaks alone, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Although some leaks are easy to identify and repair, hidden leaks are much harder to uncover if they’re inside walls and out of sight.
If you notice a sudden spike in your water bill, then it’s possible there’s a leak somewhere. In our most recent blog, the professionals at Indiana American Water discuss hidden causes of water leaks at home and how to repair them.
Common Causes of Hidden Water Leaks
At first glance, trees don’t seem like they could cause water leaks. After all, trees are outside, and your plumbing system is inside, right? However, the service line to your house is underground outside and can be damaged by roots.
If you notice wet patches in certain areas of your yard, or areas where the grass is lusher, there’s a good chance you have an underground leak, possibly caused by a root that has penetrated and damaged the line. You’ll want to have this issue repaired as quickly as possible to avoid expensive damage, water waste and a potentially high water/wastewater bill.
Although modern plumbing systems have pipes that are manufactured with anti-corrosive qualities to prevent corrosion, they can lose their effectiveness over time and start to loosen or crack. Corroded pipes are a common cause of hidden leaks.
If you haven’t had a plumbing inspection in several years, consider contacting a licensed plumber to examine your plumbing system to find hidden leaks and make suggestions for pipe repair or replacement, if necessary.
Poor repair jobs, especially of the DIY variety, can damage your plumbing system and lead to leaks. Damage to plumbing pipes within walls can occur during an electrical installation or if someone forgets to tighten the pipes properly or accidentally loosens a fitting after a repair or installation job. If you detect water leaks, you’ll want to fix them right away before they cause extensive water damage.
High Water Pressure
High water pressure causes your pipes to leak and even burst, potentially leading to expensive damage. Some common causes of this issue include poor pressure regulation or clogged fixtures. If you live in an area where homes use a water pressure regulator, this device should be inspected on a regular basis to ensure it is working properly. You can adjust the water pressure regulator in a few easy steps.
Extreme temperatures, especially during the winter, can cause pipes to expand and contract when the temperature fluctuates. Water expands when it freezes creating extremely high pressure within your pipes. When this occurs, your pipes are more susceptible to cracks that can lead to hidden leaks. Pipes can also burst, which can lead to significant damage.
Should You Repair the Leak Yourself or Call a Professional?
Determining whether to fix a leak yourself or call a licensed plumber is an important decision. On one hand, you want to save money, if possible. But you also don’t want to cause more damage with a poor DIY repair job.
Consider fixing a leak in the following situations:
- Toilets. The toilet’s plumber ball or flapper valve needs to be replaced.
- Sinks. A faucet needs a new washer to prevent it from dripping.
You should consider contacting a professional plumber in the following situations:
- Refrigerators. Excessive ice accumulation in the freezer, coupled with small puddles under the refrigerator, likely means the ice-making machine is broken.
- Dishwashers. There’s water on the floor by the appliance, indicating a possible water leak.
- Water heaters. Any type of water heater leak should be checked by a professional plumber.
- Washing machine. Just like a dishwasher, a leak on the floor around the machine likely means a hidden leak is present.
- Outside service line. If you notice a soft or wet spot on your lawn, the service line to your house may be leaking.
Save Money on Your Water Bills by Detecting Leaks Early
Hidden water leaks can quickly add up. It’s estimated the average home leaks enough water in a year to fill up an entire backyard swimming pool. Homeowners can save about 10% yearly on their water bills by having leaks fixed as soon as they’re identified. To learn more about how to find hidden water leaks, click here.