Leaks can be incredibly tricky — and sneaky. They’re not always that constant “drip, drip, drip” noise you may think of. They often go undetected for months, costing homeowners and business owners hundreds of dollars or more each year and wasting tons of water. We hear from people throughout the Fox Cities that have had undiagnosed leaks cause real issues in their homes. Check out these leak statistics from the United States Environmental Protection Agency:
- The average household’s leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year.
- 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
- Homeowners can save up to 10% on their water bill by fixing common leaks.
Some of the most common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking valves, according to the EPA. Most leaks that are discovered early don’t cause major damage or expenses — it’s the ones that go unnoticed or unfixed that cause problems. If you’re concerned you might have a leak in your home, don’t fret. We’ve seen leaks of all kinds from Oshkosh to Appleton and beyond, and know a thing or two about what to look for. Here are some common signs you have a leak and our expert tips on how to deal with it.
Common Signs You Have A Leak
1. The water is off but the meter is moving. Make sure no water is being used, then go check the leak indicator on your water meter and see if it’s moving. Or take a meter reading and then wait a few hours without using water and check it again. If the reading has changed at all, you probably have a leak.
2. You have unusually high water usage. According to the EPA, if a family of four is using more than 12,000 gallons of water per month, there’s probably a leak problem. While your bill may fluctuate somewhat — especially if you’re gone on vacation or operate a pool, sprinkler system, or hot tub during certain months — but it’s important to keep an eye out for any irregularities.
3. Your toilet doesn’t pass the dye test. Determining if you have a leaking toilet is relatively simple. Remove the tank lid and drop some food coloring or dye tabs in the toilet tank. Don’t flush. After about half an hour, look in the toilet bowl. If the water is clear, you’re good to go. However, if you see food coloring in the toilet bowl, you probably have a leak.
4. There’s dampness or discoloration. This is a pretty obvious sign that something isn’t right. Check around faucets, drains, and under sinks and vanities as well as walls, ceilings, flooring, and molding. We recommend adding this to your spring cleaning list and ongoing home maintenance routine to help you detect these types of leaks sooner.
5. Inspect outdoor areas. It’s not just inside your house where leaks are a problem. Be sure you’re checking around your property as well, including hoses, sprinklers, and spigots. Keep an eye out for areas that are consistently wet. You’ll want to look at your yard, driveway, the curb and street for evidence of water flow, such as puddles and dark spots, that indicate an underground leak.
You Have a Leak — Now What?
Figuring out you have a leak is the first step, dealing with it is another issue. As mentioned above, most leaks that are caught early don’t cause damage or cost too much money. It’s the ones that are ignored or unnoticed that lead to major issues, increased utility costs, and other added expenses for homeowners. The sooner you detect and fix a leak, the better off you’ll be.
1. Take photos. If there’s obvious damage, take some pictures to document. This can come in handy if you have to go back and forth with your insurance company or local plumbing experts.
2. Turn off your water. You should always do this before attempting any kind of repair or if there’s an obvious problem/emergency.
3. Avoid electrical components and wires. Obviously, water and electricity don’t mix. For your safety, don’t touch any wires, outlets, or electrical components that may be wet from a leak. Turn off electricity to the area and refer to step #4.
4. Contact an expert. As we mentioned above, leaks can be tricky. The actual location of the leak may not be the same place you’re seeing the damage and/or you may not even be able to figure out where the leak is coming from. Working with plumbing experts, like the leak experts at Watters Plumbing, can help assure the leak is repaired properly and without further damage. Even if you think it’s something you can fix yourself, there’s no harm in getting some expert advice.
If you have a leak (or you’re concerned you do), give us a call. We’ve been fixing leaks around Northeast Wisconsin for almost 60 years. We’re always happy to help and we have experienced plumbing experts on hand 24/7 to check it out or answer your questions.
Request an estimate or give us a call.
Call Watters Plumbing now to handle your leaky repairs. Easy call, fast fix.