Leaks and how to detect them

Whether you own your own home here in Bountiful, rent, or live with your parents still you’ve probably seen some of the problems leaks can cause. If you haven’t, though, here are a few of the problems an untreated leak can cause, and how to detect leaks:

Property damage: If a homeowner is very lucky, only the plumbing fixture itself will be damaged. For example, a constantly running toilet doesn’t usually hurt the house around it. Unfortunately what it does do is wastewater and run up your water bill. A really small leak, of a couple, drips a second, can cost you an additional 43 gallons of water a month. In the desert-like conditions of Bountiful, and the rest of Utah, that’s a lot of wasted water.  Leaks from a faucet in the sink or tub may also have a similar effect. Besides those leaks, usually, water tends to ruin whatever it hits. How much gets ruined varies depending on how big the leak is, and how long it is left untreated. The usual casualties to a leak include wood, drywall, insulation, flooring or ceiling materials, electronics, and personal belongings. Besides the surrounding materials and belongings, an untreated leak can lead to mould. Especially if the leak is inside the wall.

Most people have probably heard mould is dangerous, but are unaware of why mould is dangerous to have in a home. There are many different theories and explanations for why mould is bad to have in your home, including many ‘old wives tales.’ Instead of passing on what we’ve heard, we went to the CDC to find out what they had to say about the dangers of mould. You may have heard of “toxic mould.” According to the CDC, the mould itself isn’t toxic. It’s the gas the mould makes that can be toxic. Black mould is one of the moulds that releases toxic gas. This is actually more dangerous because you may not ever come into direct physical contact with the mould, but you will breathe the air in your home. Though severe reactions are not common, it is important to note that a lot of upper-respiratory-tract problems can be linked to mould in the home. Most symptoms show up like an allergy: runny nose, itchy watering eyes, and so on.

Though not as common there are more severe reactions, especially in those who already have upper respiratory problems like asthma, or COPD.  If a person already has a lung problems such as these, having things like black mold in the home can greatly increase the odds of having infections and fungal infections develop in the lungs. Mold is also one of those things that exposure over time can create an allergy over time. There is even some research being done that has tentatively linked mold in the home to otherwise healthy kids developing conditions like asthma. One of the other problems with mold is that it can’t be removed normally. If on a surface like tile or fiberglass mold can sometimes be bleached out. Once mold is established on most surfaces, though, it takes specialized treatment to get rid of the mold. Luckily there are now ways to use gas to get rid of mold, but sometimes the mold still has to be removed the old fashioned way: getting rid of whatever it was attached to (like drywall) and replacing it. A mold remediation or removal company would be needed to determine how far the damage had spread and what needs to be replaced or treated. Unfortunately mold is not something that most plumbers can help with.

Because of the problems a leak can cause, it is important to get your plumber to help fix the damage as soon as possible. In order to get leaks fixed quickly, it is important to know how to find them. The shortest answer is: to look for leaks. There are several different things to watch for, of course, but we should be checking our visible plumbing at least two to three times a year. It only takes a few moments, unless you live in a mansion, but is a very important step in maintaining your plumbing. Simply look for water dripping, spraying, or puddling around any exposed plumbing.  The next step we recommend is having a yearly video inspection done on your plumbing. It may sound silly at first, but a video inspection can help detect problems before they cost more money than just replacement. A video inspection can find blockages, clogs, and also where pipes are thinning and could break soon. Besides these simple steps, here are a few things to watch out for in your home:

Mold

As previously mentioned, mold can be caused by a leak. If you have a slow leak in your wall or ceiling, you may see the mold long before any other symptoms show up.

Paint Problems

Mold and problems with the paint may show up around the same time. They can both show up before , or after, or even at the same time as the other problem as well. Problems they may be caused by a leak include bubbling paint, cracking of paint, and sagging paint. Sometimes one of the paint problems can lead to another.

Buckling, warping, or collapsing

If the leak goes on for a very long time, or is very large, it can cause the materials of your home to be damaged. For example: walls and ceilings can buckle or collapse if exposed to too much water. Considering that most of them are made of drywall, it isn’t that big a surprise. The flooring, especially the wood, can warp and buckle in strange places, or if the subfloor is made of pasteboard it can actually cause it to start dissolving.

Bigger Bill

Another hint there may be a leak is if your water bill is bigger than normal. Because the amount of water is directly proportional this will show up before most other signs, other than visible water, show up. It is listed last because unless you are carefully watching your bill every month for this anomaly, it probably won’t be the first sign you notice.

Whether your leak is big or small, Your Plumber Bountiful can help you fix it. We do both residential and commercial work, so don’t hesitate to contact Your Plumber Bountiful for your plumbing needs.