6 Ways Water Can Leak in Your Home

Leaks represent some of the most challenging plumbing-related problems to solve. They can persist due to worn pipes, broken fittings, failing equipment such as dishwashers and water heaters, and aged equipment like sinks or toilet fixtures.

The reason leaks are so difficult to solve is because of the many points of failure that a typical plumbing setup has. The larger the system, the more numerous leaks can be.

This is why it should be no surprise that the average home loses between 25,000 to 35,000 gallons of water each year because of leaks. The leaks cost money, both in terms of a higher utility bill than normal and in repairs to the surrounding environment and structures because of the proliferation of moisture.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common places where leaks occur in a residential home to better understand how these leaks may exist.

1. Plumbing Pipes

The majority of any plumbing system encompasses the pipes. There may be hundreds or thousands of feet of pipes in the typical home, which in turn means that the most common place where a leak will develop tends to be the pipes.

Aging homes are particularly vulnerable to this because of the metal pipes, both zinc-coated iron and copper pipes, that tend to be used within them. These can erode with time, be destroyed by the roots of trees and bushes, and burst with the right change in temperature or shift in the soil.

Leaks in pipes will tend to develop as pinhole-size leaks that will let pressurized water free. They can remain this way until the pipe material fails, which in turn results in a substantially larger leak that will cause damage to the surroundings.

2. Faucets

Faucets are another place where leaks tend to develop in the home. They develop because hard water deposits accumulate near the mechanisms responsible for closing faucets, which in turn can leave them open as time passes.

Chlorine, a common additive to tap water, is another reason that faucets can develop leaks. The chlorine causes the o-ring seals to become brittle, which in turn diminishes their ability to properly seal leaks.

The last major area where faucets tend to fail is in their internal workings. They are composed of metal, which in turn can erode and even rust when the protective coating wears away in older faucets.

Replacing the faucet or repairing the internal workings will fix the leak. Doing so is typically a small expense compared to the amount of money even a small leak can cause.

3. Pool Plumbing

Pools are another area where vulnerable plumbing exists, but this becomes complicated depending on the setup of the pool itself. Most pools have a pump, a filter and other equipment designed to facilitate the safe and enjoyable function of the pool.

These components are vulnerable to wear and tear in ways that are similar to faucets. They have seals and other components that can break down, which in turn requires maintenance.

The plumbing itself that connects these components can also break. Rather than having a rigid, strong foundation, these pipes tend to be laid within the soil. One rainy season can cause a shift that can create a rupture in even the sturdiest of underground pipes.

4. Substructure Leaks

The last major place where leaks tend to develop in a residence is in the substructure. This includes everything from slab foundations to more complex pier-and-beam basements that may have a retaining wall system.

The reason these leaks develop tend to be outside of the plumbing itself. Shifts in the ground, which can be cause by unstable soil, excess water retention, a lack of water coupled with seismic movement or a piece of failed plumbing that introduced excessive water, can rupture plumbing.

These problems tend to be difficult to find, and tend to become worse as time progresses until catastrophic failure that causes thousands of dollars in damage occurs.

5. Sprinkler Systems

The last major cause of leaks in a home tend to be sprinkler systems. This is because these systems are installed using PVC pipe that is relatively flexible when it is installed. As heat and moisture comes in contact with this plastic, it hardens and becomes brittle until it develops weak spots where water is allowed to leak.

Unlike the other leaks listed here, one unique thing about sprinkler systems is that they tend to only lose water as they are used. This is why a green spot that develops particularly well in one area of your yard tends to represent a mild to moderate leak in your sprinkler system.

Don’t Let Leaks Ruin Your Day

One thing should be clear to you after reading this, – the cause of leaks can be numerous and difficult to determine. That’s why you should leave finding and repairing leaks to us as Leak Locators.

We specialize in utilizing the right equipment, the right techniques and the right experience to pinpoint leaks that could ruin your day.

To learn more about our services, or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced technicians, contact us by calling (919) 376-9203 today.