If your utility bills are suddenly higher than usual, you’ve received a courtesy notice about unusually high water use, or you hear water dripping, it’s a good idea to begin looking for water leaks around your home. Finding a water leak can be a tricky process, but if you suspect you have one, don’t give up on finding it! The cost to repair it will only go up with time, and it could cause damage to your home if left unchecked.
Take these steps to find the source of your leak!
Check Your Water Meter
This should be the first step you take when you suspect a leak. Your home’s water meter can let you know if you actually have a leak and then help you identify its location.
First, ensure all appliances that use water are turned off in your house, and let everyone in the family know not to use the water for the next few hours. That means no running the dishwasher or taking showers while you run an experiment to see if the meter moves. Make note of the starting number, so you don’t forget.
If it’s moved after you’ve confirmed everything is off, you’re dealing with a leak!
Next, turn off your main water valve. If the meter continues to move after that, it could point to a leak between the meter and your house. Be on the lookout for nearby puddles of water or muddy areas.
If the meter stops moving when you shut off the valve, then your leak is likely coming from somewhere within your home.
Listen to the Toilet
Once you’ve established you have a leak within your home, a good place to begin your hunt is the toilet. Is there a hissing noise? Is the water bubbling? Is there a small puddle on the floor next to the toilet? These are all signs your toilet is leaking.
Some toilet leaks are easy to repair and can be done without calling a plumber. First, check the flapper valve. If it is showing signs of wear and tear, it may be time to replace it.
The flush handle is another part of the toilet that commonly springs a leak. If your toilet is constantly running, the handle, flush level bar, and chain could be getting stuck. Try jiggling the handle to see if it stops running.
If you don’t find the problem in your toilet or aren’t sure how to fix the issue you’ve found, don’t hesitate to call a plumber for help.
Look for Pools of Water or Dampness
If you haven’t found the problem to be the water meter or the toilet, it’s time to move on to the rest of the house. Check each of the appliances in turn, including your:
- Washing machine
- Water heater
- Sinks (both the faucets and the pipes)
Look for pools of water around or behind them? You may need to actually use the appliance to see if it’s leaking.
If you have carpet around your appliances, reach down and feel the rug. Does it feel damp?
If you see or feel water where you shouldn’t, then you have a leak! Call a plumber for advice on next steps.
Be Aware of Mold and Household Damage
There are plenty of other signs of a leak aside from pools of water. Water dripping from pipes, for example, can cause water damage along the wall. Keep an eye out for these signs of a leak around your home:
Check your walls, floors, and ceilings for these signs. Don’t forget about cabinets, closets, and under sinks as well. The cause of the leak may not always be obvious, so get out your flashlight, and take your time! You can always call a professional for assistance.
Other Common Sources of Leaks
If you’ve searched the entire house, top to bottom, and can’t find the source of the leak, it’s time to look elsewhere. Head outside, and check your front and backyards. Taps, drip irrigation systems, and water hoses, and swimming pools can spring leaks. Are there any unusual muddy spots in your yard? Is there somewhere you’ve noticed that water is constantly flowing? Is there a puddle that never goes away? If the answer is yes to any of these, the leak may be in your yard.
If you can’t find a leak in your home or your yard but still see a higher-than-usual water bills, it doesn’t mean you’re dreaming! The leak may be out of sight. If you continue hearing the sound of running water and your water bills continue to rise, contact a professional plumber to help assess the problem for you. A water leak should be treated as an emergency, since it will only get worse the longer it’s left untreated.
C&W Plumbing is available 24/7 for plumbing emergencies! Call us at 972-395-2597 anytime.
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