Locating a Water Leak in your Home
Probably the most noticeable sign of a leak that homeowners mention is a significant increase in their water bill which typically indicates that they have a water leak. If you’re not sure whether you have a leak to begin with, follow the steps in our previous article to determine if you have a leak.
If you’ve found that you have a leak and determined that the leak is coming from inside your home, you’ll then want to find out where that leak is coming from, in order to stop the leak. First, check for any of the following signs of a leak:
- Damp, moist or wet spots
- Mold or mildew buildup
- Cracks in your foundation
- Discoloration in your walls or ceilings
- Warm spots on the floors – particularly concrete floors
- Smells and odors
- The sound of trickling water when no water is being used.
This can help you identify the general area that the leak is originating from. If you have a leak detection device, you can narrow it down even further. A leak detection device typically costs between $150 to over $300 so if you don’t already have one, it would more cost-effective to either manually locate the leak or have a plumber help you.
Once you’ve identified the general area that the leak is located in, you’ll need to discover what is causing the leak and what needs to be repaired. To help you do that, we’ve outlined the most common areas where leaks occur in a home and how to determine what is causing the leak in each of the areas.
Faucets are probably the most common type of leak reported. Mostly because it is probably the most noticeable type of leak but also because of how often it’s used. If your faucet is leaking, there’s a good chance it is due to a worn rubber washer.
The rubber washer on a sink is typically located just under the handle. Replacing the washer can usually stop the leak and is relatively easy to replace. First, you’ll want to shut of the water via the shutoff valve under sink or the main water shutoff but remember: the faucet handle is not a shutoff valve. Next, you’ll want to remove the faucet handle – this can be done by loosening the bolt under the sink for the handle – and replacing the rubber washer.
A water leak coming from a toilet is often considered the worst kind of leak due to the amount of water that can be lost due to a leak. They are commonly overlooked and can cost you hundreds of gallons of water due to a leak. Thankfully, though, they’re also fairly inexpensive to repair or replace and can usually be easily fixed.
First, find out if your toilet is leaking by simply removing the tank lid and placing a few drops of food coloring in back of the toilet tank. (If you don’t have food coloring, you can purchase dye tabs from any hardware or home center). Wait about 30 minutes, without flushing, and then look in the toilet bowl to see of any color has come through. If the water is clear, the toilet is not leaking. If you see coloring in the bowl you have a leak.
In most cases, you will simply just need to replace the toilet flapper and/or filling mechanism. These are available at your local hardware or home center stores for about $8.00 each.
Flush Handle Problems
If the handle needs to be jiggled to keep the toilet from running, the flush level bar and chain (or the handle itself) may be sticking. Adjust the nut that secures it in the toilet tank. If that doesn’t work, the handle may need to be replaced.
Overflow Tube Leaks
The overflow tube in the toilet tank ensures that if the filling mechanism isn’t shutting off properly, the tank won’t overflow into your bathroom. You’ll want to make sure the water level is set to be about even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank. This is about a half inch below the overflow tube.
If the tank is filling past the water level mark and spilling into the overflow tube, you can adjust the water level by turning the adjustment screw or by very gently bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a slightly lower level that is below the overflow tube. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, you may need to contact a plumber to assist in repairs.
Other Leak Areas
While the most common water leaks originate from the toilet or faucet, the leak could also be coming from any of the following areas as well:
- Water heater problems
- Underground pipe leaks
- Bath and shower leaks
- Water softener issues
- And more…
If you need assistance with a water leak repair in Phoenix, contact us today!