How To Check For A Plumbing Leak

You know you need plumbing help when you hear drip... drip... drip... in the middle of the night. It's definitely not the time you want to call a plumber out at midnight if you want to save some money.

Plumbing stuff happens! But being prepared to tackle a problem and learning to keep your plumbing in top shape now saves money in the future.

A plumbing leak can waste water and become costly, Look for these possible money snatchers:

Check the flapper in your toilet for a plumbing leak.

Remove the toilet tank lid. Use your eyes and ears. Look for an evident plumbing leak.  Listen for a hissing sound.Turn the water supply to the toilet off (Usually under the left side of the toilet)  Use a pencil to mark the top of the water level inside the tank.  Come back in one hour. If the water level has dropped, you have a leaky flapper.  This is one of the main sources of higher water bills. A quick trip to the local home improvement store could save you hundreds of dollars in plumbing repair costs and gallons of wasted water.

Periodically check under your sink cabinets for plumbing leaks

With a flashlight in hand, check under cabinets of kitchen, bathroom, bar, and laundry sinks.Check around all fixtures, hoses and drain pipes for any moisture or an obvious leak.  You may be able to fix with a simple turning of a wrench to tighten loose fittings. However, a qualified licensed plumber may be needed. Finding a leak early on could save you big money in water damage repair. 

Don’t know where the leak is?  Thoroughly dry the bottom of the cabinet and place some dry paper towels underneath.  In a short time, come back and look for where the drops are coming from.The leak will be directly above.

Check the caulking around the sinks, tubs, showers and faucets

This is crucial because most costly home repairs are due to leaks around bathtubs and showers.Check for noticeable gaps around tub spouts, handles, fixtures, and shower heads. Also, check for gaps where the tub walls meet the bathtub or shower surface.  If gaps are noticed, then clean and dry area ( I mean really DRY!)  before you apply the caulking.  Fill in all gaps with a SMALL amount of 100% silicone caulking.  In this case too much really is TOO MUCH.  Wipe away any excess caulking and allow drying.

Drain the Water Heater

To remove sediment to prolong the life o your water heater, check your owner's manuel for specifics on how to drain your type of water heater. Fo most water heaters, you turn off the water coming into the tank. Turn off the power or gas. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Open the drain valve and turn on a hot water fixture that is closest to the water heater. After the water heater is empty, turn off the hot water fixture. Turn off the drain valve. Remove the garden hose. Turn on the water coming into the tank. Turn on the power to the water heater or relight the pilot light. This could add years to the life of your water heater and should be done once a year. You can call a plumber out to do yearly maintenance on your plumbing. 

Check the irrigation system.

Large amounts of water can be lost through your yard sprinkler system. Visually check your irrigation control valves for obvious leaks.  Listen for the sound of running or hissing water.  This is the sound of money going down the drain.  If you notice a leak, this valve needs to be repaired or replaced.  Also, check the lowest spot in your yard several hours after the sprinkler system has been used.  See if water is leaking out of the sprinkler head.