Top 10 Causes to Leaking Pipes and Water Damage
Every day, we get calls for help with possible water leaks as well as those that are undeniable. We get emergencies featuring burst pipes, busted valves or plumbing clogs that have unleashed a tsunami threatening to destroy people’s homes and businesses. That’s when our Comfort Heroes spring into action and save the day.
Leaky pipes hiding in the walls, under the floors and foundations of homes, slowly dripping and seeping water can destroy everything in its path, and then hang your budget out to dry. It’s hidden water leaks that often cause the most damage, and the mold that can spring up can be toxic to humans and pets. Since these leaks are hidden, you don’t notice them until water begins seeping through drywall or any number of other places. By then, it’s too late. But here’s the kicker: those are NOT the places where leaks most often happen.
Here are your Top 10 places that water leaks and leaking pipes happen. Take some time to check them all, and to do a little preventative maintenance while you’re at it. Don’t worry, we’ll talk you through the tricky parts.
1/ Toilets: Leaks in the toilet are all too common, and can be all too costly. NEVER ignore a running toilet because it’s not hurting anything. Remember, it’s running up your water bill. From the relatively simple running toilet (most often cured by a simple valve replacement) to overflows, there are many things that can go wrong. By some estimates, a leaking toilet can cost anywhere from $2K – $10K in damage if it’s not fixed in a timely manner. Make a habit of checking the water supply lines and flushing mechanism every six months or so.
2/ Washing machines: More than half of all water damage incidents are caused by burst water supply lines in washing machines. Check all the hoses for cracks, kinks, and cuts every few months. Replace hoses every five years with reinforced steel hoses. Turn off the water supply to the washing machine before traveling or leaving home for an extended period. That simple precaution could save you thousands of dollars and a steep hike in your homeowner’s insurance.
3/ Water heaters: These workhorses are relegated to the garage or a remote closet somewhere, so you don’t think about them until they leak or you find yourself suddenly showering in cold water. Both issues come with water leaks. Fact is, most water heaters will fail before they’re 12 years old. Flush the tank every 6 months to remove sediment from hard water. Have a professional inspection every 2 years.
4/ Plumbing and drains: Sometimes, the first indication that something is wrong is the water bill. Sudden increases or spikes in usage means something is leaking somewhere, and you’d better find it fast. Older homes are far more likely to have problems with the plumbing and drains, so regular maintenance is a must.
5/ Refrigerator Icemakers: Modern conveniences like icemakers and water dispensers in the refrigerator would either make our ancestors either oooh and ahh or snort in derision. (To be fair, the sight of a smart fridge would likely have them calling an exorcist). Since ice and water dispensers and the like are here to stay, remember to inspect the supply line hoses and shut off valves every six months. (While you’re at it, change out the water filters you probably forgot about.)
6/ Roof leaks: Extreme weather like cold, wind, hail or monsoons can wreak havoc on your roof! Rather than trying to deal with it raining in the house, do a little precautionary inspection. Replace any chipped or broken tiles or shingles to help avoid costly leaks. Have your roof inspected annually by a roofing professional.
7/ Sinks: These workhorses take a beating! From the kitchen sink to the bathroom sink, there are plenty of places for leaks to happen. Faucets/tap connectors, pipes and pipe connections will corrode over time, so inspect them frequently.
8/ Shower stalls: Oh, the corrosion! We have almost every possible water leak element happening here – from tile and grout that cracks or chips over time to failed silicone seals to leaky showerheads, doors and drains, there is a LOT that can go wrong. Inspect everything. Frequently.
9/ Irrigation/Sprinkler Systems: When these systems leak water, they tend to be noticeable – most often it’s either fountains from a broken line or sprinkler head or mysterious puddles of standing water in the yard. Have these leaks fixed quickly, or expect a hefty water bill.
10/ Indoor and outdoor faucets: Drip. Drip. Drip. That’s the sound of dollars leaking out of your bank account. Leaky faucets can cost hundreds of dollars each year, and yet they’re often easily fixed. Just do it. Or call us.
That’s your Top 10 leaky spots around the home! Get busy inspecting, and if you find something you’re unsure of or afraid to tackle on your own, give us a call. We’ll send a Comfort Hero to save your day!