As plumbing pipes, connections, and fixtures age, they become more “leak-prone.” While some leaks are easy to spot, like dripping faucets, others can go on for months before a homeowner realizes there’s a problem. Regardless of size, leaks waste water, and if they occur outside of a sink basin or tub, they’re bound to cause water damage.
Below, we’ll share some of the most common places where plumbing leaks develop in homes.
1. Inside the Toilet Tank
Yes, leaks can occur inside your toilet. The most common culprit behind this is a worn flapper. When functioning correctly, this little rubber component prevents water in the toilet tank from entering the bowl. If the flapper is broken or worn out, water will keep leaking from the tank into the bowl. To fix this problem, all you need to do is replace the flapper.
Who can forget Donald Duck’s epic battle against a drippy tap? Leaky faucets can occur for multiple reasons. Some people, like Donald Duck, overtighten the handles to prevent dripping. Instead, this wears out the washer inside, which can, in turn, cause dripping. Faucets can also leak due to a problem with the O ring that holds the fixture in place or a corroded valve seat. For the most reliable, long-term repair, it’s best to involve a plumber.
As with faucets, a faulty O-ring or washer can lead to a dripping showerhead. If you own a showerhead with a single handle that controls both hot and cold water, a worn or cracked cartridge can also cause a leak. Even if it doesn’t seem like your showerhead is leaking that much, consider this: even if it only drips ten times per minute, that alone will waste more than 500 gallons annually.
4. Under the Sink
Leaks often form in this area due to problems like worn-out plumbing connections and pipe corrosion. Sometimes, homeowners can also cause leaks accidentally by bumping an unsecured piece of piping out of place while rummaging under the sink for cleaning supplies.
It’s also fairly common for clogs to cause leaks under kitchen sinks. The obstruction blocks water from passing through, which puts pressure on the pipes and connections. This can cause gaps to form that start a leak.
5. Water Heater Tank
Even if you don’t see it happening, your water heater tank expands and contracts throughout the day as its internal temperature changes. This can become problematic if the tank is older and has developed an extensive corrosion issue. When your water heater’s interior walls rust, they become brittle and weak, and as they continue to expand and contract, cracks can form that allow water to leak out. If you ever see water collecting around the bottom of your water heater, don’t wait to contact a plumber.
6. In the Sewer Line
Sewage leaves your home through drains that converge into a central pipe. This pipe is your home’s sewer line, and it connects to either a septic tank or your town’s municipal sewer system. Sewer lines can fracture and leak due to many factors, including earth movements, clogs, old age, and even invasive tree roots. Sewer line repair and replacement can be done with either trenchless methods or traditional methods that require excavation. In both cases, you’ll need the help of a professional plumber.
7. Under Your Home’s Foundation
Leaks that occur under your home’s foundation are called “slab leaks.” Most homes are built on a concrete foundation (or “slab”), and typically, copper water lines run underneath that slab. Eventually, that copper piping can deteriorate and start leaking water under your foundation. These leaks can be challenging to spot. If you do have a slab leak, you’ll likely notice an unexplainable increase in your water bills, a decrease in water pressure, and possibly wet or warm spots on your floors.
If you suspect your home has a leak that you can’t see, don’t hesitate to contact Albright's Mechanical Services. Our technicians are trained and equipped to provide top-of-the-line leak detection services in Baltimore: (410) 834-0148.