You wake up in the middle of the night to a constant, wet 'plop'. At first, you think you forgot to turn the bathroom faucet off completely. Then, after you stumble out of bed and twist the knob with all your strength, you realise the 'drip, drip, drip' of the leaky spout isn't going anywhere.
Logically, you know leaks pose some threat to your home. But that first night, you feel too tired to deal with the problem, and, as time goes on, you downplay the possible repercussions.
Whether you have a visible leak like the one in this hypothetical situation or a hidden leak in a wall, this plumbing issue requires proper detection, analysis and repairs. Left unaddressed, a leak affects your entire home. In this blog, we walk you through six of the most common leak-related problems and how to approach them.
1. Increased Bills
When you have a leak, your water metre cycles continuously-even when you turn off your faucets. Additionally, a leak means your system uses more water for every flush, rinse and bath.
If you notice a cost spike in a bill that doesn't come from a seasonal change, you have already developed a leak.
2. Perpetual Wet Areas
Spills happen, but standing water usually only occurs because of a cracked pipe or a broken seal. When these deformities happen, you'll notice dampness or puddles near your tub, sinks, water heater or baseboards.
Over time, stagnant water causes odours, discolouration and sunken floors.
3. Rot and Organic Growth
Mould and mildew rely on high moisture levels to grow. While the appearance of mould doesn't guarantee that you have a leak, it indicates a water problem.
If you do have a leak, dangerous forms of organic growth develop throughout your home and put you and your loved ones at risk for illness.
4. Stains and Discolouration
Water damage affects most building materials, from paint to flooring. Even close proximity to a leak makes paint flake or peel, walls weaken and ceilings stain.
Left unchecked, this water damage often necessitates extensive repairs and renovations.
5. Structural Problems
Over time, free flowing or long standing water breaks down your home's essential structure. In the beginning, the leak compromises your cabinetry, flooring or drywall. However, an advanced leak breaks through your ceiling or walls, cracks your foundation and compromises other home systems, such as insulation.
For the most part, these structural problems take some time to develop, but it's better to take care of a leak as soon as you become aware of it.
6. Unwelcome Odours and Sounds
When water leaves your pipes, you lose the ability to control where it flows. Natural water damage, such as mould, creates unpleasant odours. These odours smell more potent near drains and faucets. If you have a leak, these openings begin to smell musty, damp, earthy, stale or mouldy.
A free-flowing, hidden leak also comes with irregular noises. You'll notice the sounds of splashing or running water near a particular wall or floor section, even when you haven't turned on a water feature.
Pay attention to what you smell and hear. If you hear dripping only from one faucet or running noises from one toilet, you may have already found the source of the problem.
Many of these issues appear right away-typically as soon as a leak appears. If you notice the constant sound of running water, a sudden bill increase or wet spots on your floor, contact a plumber. You usually see leaks that affect a faucet or exposed piping, but many leaks stay hidden from sight in your walls, floors or ceiling.
Work with a plumbing professional to resolve the problem as quickly as possible and protect your home from the damage listed above.