If you live in an older home you might be concerned about water leaks in your home. Leaks can cause damage to ceilings, walls, and flooring. If not caught in time, water leaks can even cause mold to grow behind the walls or around piping and venting. Leaks can start small but will grow unexpectedly, so it’s really important to catch them and find them as quick as possible. Here are five ways for you to detect water leaks in your home so you can fix them in a timely manner.
Watch the Bill
One of the best (and maybe fastest) ways to determine if you’re using more water than expected is to keep track of your water usage via utility bills. You may not notice small, incremental amounts from month to month but if you’re looking at this month from last year – or even two years ago – and comparing it to the current month’s amount you might find a large difference. Watch for a rise in cost as your water bill shouldn’t be noticeably higher if your home needs haven’t changed.
Check the Meter
If you have a meter in your home that monitors water usage, you can keep track there too. Check the numbers today, write them down and then in a week or so check the numbers again. Continue to do this and compare that against the water usage you know is happening in your home such as showers, dishes, laundry, watering the lawn, etc.
Get out the Food Colouring
Toilets are often the biggest source of unknown water leaks in a home, and they can account for up to 30% of your home’s overall water usage. So if you have a leak, that’s a lot of extra water you’re paying for that you don’t even get to use. Put a little bit of food colouring in the tank of the toilets in your home. Do not flush, and wait about 10 minutes. If the coloured water shows up in the bowl of the toilet – without flushing – then you have a leak that is allowing unnecessary water to flow from the tank to the bowl and it could be costing you more than you think.
Water leaks don’t just come from the inside. The taps outside your home where you hook up a garden hose could be leaking too. You could also have cracks in the foundation of your home, causing water to slowly leak into your basement. You can check the taps easily enough: hook up a garden hose to the tap and turn it on. If you get water coming out around the connection, you can replace the rubber part of the gasket to ensure a tight fit.
If you find leaks or potential cracks in your foundation you will need to call in a professional. Unfortunately, this is a major home repair, but it’s important to get it looked at before the cracks become large and potentially compromise the structure of your home.
Perform Regular Checks
This includes looking at the backs of cupboards or underneath sinks to make sure there isn’t any kind of discolouration or foul smell around the area. Walls that are damaged by water will be obvious but any leaks around sinks or faucets may not be as easily seen. You can also have a plumber come into your home on a yearly basis to do a check for you. By doing this, it could save you thousands of dollars in repairs over time.
Overall by looking for leaks on a regular basis, and checking your water usage, you can catch leaks that could potentially damage your home over the years.