Water leaks can do more than just waste money and increase your water bill – they can also damage building materials, encourage the growth of mold and mildew and cause structural problems. Detecting leaks early is important, and there are several ways to find hidden ones. Be sure you understand the difference between homeowner insurance vs home warranty because water damages can be covered under a home insurance if damages affect other aspects of your home. Home warranty may cover broken devices but not for negligence and cause of water damage. Be sure to check each policy so you understand what is covered and what is not.
First, turn off all faucets and other water-using appliances. Check your water meter and note the position of the sweep hand. Wait an hour and then check again. If the numbers have moved, you may have a leak somewhere.
Check Your Water Meter
If your water bill has skyrocketed without any explanation (besides increased usage), you may have a leak. It’s important to find and fix the leak as quickly as possible to avoid expensive repairs, property damage, and waste.
The quickest way to check for a leak is by checking your water meter. This is usually located in a basement, crawlspace, or in a covered concrete box near the street. Make sure all faucets and appliances are shut off (including dishwashers and washing machines), then note the current meter reading. Wait at least two hours to ensure no water has been used in the home, then return and read the meter again. If the dials have moved, you have a leak.
If the meter hasn’t moved, you can begin further investigations in areas of your home that are more likely to have leaks such as behind water use appliances and toilets. If the meter continues to move, you should contact a plumber right away.
Check Your Faucets
A leaky faucet can waste a significant amount of water and lead to water damage in your home. It is also a huge problem for your water bill.
The simplest way to check for a leak is to turn off all of your faucets and appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. Then, look at the water meter to see if it is still moving. If the meter is still moving it means there’s a leak somewhere in your house.
If you notice that a fixture is actively leaking or water in places it shouldn’t be, that’s a good indication that it’s time to call a plumber. Leaks can cause a lot of damage if left unattended, and many of these leaks are not obvious. This is why it’s important to check regularly for signs of leaks, such as a damp spot or musty smells. A professional plumber will have the tools and sense of smell to locate even the hardest to find water leaks.
Check Your Water Heater
A water heater leak is a common issue that should be taken seriously. Pooling water around the tank or leaky valves can cause damage to drywall and wooden framing. If
left unchecked, the resulting moisture can lead to mold growth, foul odors and higher water bills.
Check for water stains or discoloration on the walls around your water heater, and make sure to look at other appliances nearby that use water such as dishwashers and washing machines. If you find any damp or spongy walls, these are signs that there is a leak behind the drywall.
A leaky water heater can also cause rust spots on the tank. Check for rust or corrosion on the pressure relief or drain valve, or any other connections at the top of your tank. Check the supply tubes to the tank too (with a ladder if needed), as these are often where the leaking originates. Also, make sure to check the drain valve at the bottom of the tank – this can leak too and should be tightened.
Check Your Pipes
Detecting leaks and having them fixed as soon as possible is the best way to avoid serious water damage in your home. However, finding the source of a leak isn’t always easy. While there are several signs that a leak exists (musty smells, damp spots and higher than usual water bills) many leaks go undetected.
Leaks that occur in the pipes can cause mold, rot and even structural damage to the property. These leaks can also waste hundreds or thousands of gallons each month, which leads to higher water bills.
To check for hidden leaks, make sure all of your water use appliances are turned off and then visit your water meter. With your finger placed against the dial, listen for any sound, which if heard will be much louder than the other readings. You can also put the metal tip of a screwdriver against your thumb knuckle and listen for any sound this creates, which is similar to a stethoscope.