Plumbing leaks can drive up your water bill and cause physical damage in your home. Often the first sign of a leak is a significantly higher water bill than you usually see, with no obvious explanation. Knowing how to find leaks is the first step to repairing them. Here are some places to look for leaks in your plumbing.
Outside Your House
Sometimes a pipe leak is actually located outside of your house, but it’s wasting water that you are paying for all the same. With municipal water systems, experts can use a plumbing smoke test to identify leak locations, but it’s not so simple for a homeowner to do the detective work. You can, though, fairly easily determine if the leak is inside or outside of your home. If you shut off your home’s water supply at the point where it enters your home, then no more water will be running through your indoor pipes. If your water meter is still showing water usage with the shut-off valve closed, then you have a leak in the pipes between your house and the street.
Inside Your Walls
It can be difficult to track down where a leak inside your house is happening if it’s not right at a faucet or other fixture. Much of a home’s plumbing is hidden behind walls or between floor and ceiling, making leaks less obvious to spot. Walk around your home and look for discoloration or corrosion on any pipes that you can see. Also, look for areas of drywall on your walls or ceilings that appear stained. Water leaks may also cause bubbling or cracking of wall or ceiling surfaces.
At Your Toilets
Slow leakage from the toilet tank into the bowl is a common cause of excess water usage over time. Sometimes this is obvious if you hear your toilet periodically “running” when no one has flushed it, but sometimes the leak is too slow to find this way. You can easily dye test your toilet to determine whether it’s leaking. Just add some food coloring to the toilet tank, then watch to see if colored water begins seeping into the bowl. If it does, a simple fix of replacing the toilet flapper can save you plenty of money.
Pay attention to your monthly water bills to spot water leaks as soon as they begin. Fixing them will save you money and possibly prevent damage to your home.