Plumbing leaks waste much more water than you may realize, which is bad for the environment. They can result in costly water bills and plumbing repairs unless detected early. For early leak detection and preventive maintenance, read and follow this helpful guide. If you do need a plumber to come out and fix that leaky faucet or toilet, no repair is too big or too small for Santa Cruz Plumbing, Inc.
Types of Leaks
A leaky faucet often results in a simple repair but left without attention, it can lead to big problems. At the rate of one drip per second, one leaky faucet can waste more than 3,000 gallons in a single year!
Most often, the cause of a leaky toilet is cracks or decay from the plastic or rubber parts inside the tank. Minerals in the water can build up and deteriorate the components, causing a leak over time.
Showerheads are common sources of plumbing leaks that contribute to more than 500 gallons of water waste per year. The leaks usually arise out of a loosening connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem.
Leaky pipes are often made of galvanized steel which used to be the main element in older construction. Galvanized steel rusts badly with age, causing interior corrosion and discolored tap water.
The most common water leak outdoors emanates from a garden hose, but a much bigger problem can come from a leak in the in-ground irrigation system. A tiny crack the thickness of a dime can waste greater than 6,000 gallons of water per month! Repairs to irrigation systems can be very costly.
Why Plumbing leaks should be repaired
There are three very good reasons to repair plumbing leaks. First, a small leak can often be repaired cheaply and easily. Second, a small leak that is ignored can become a major project down the road that can set you back. Third, even small leaks can waste a lot of water. Not only does this raise your water bill, it needlessly wastes a precious resource.
How to Detect a Leak
Check the washers and gaskets for deterioration and replace them if needed. This is a simple fix, if you choose to repair the leak yourself.
To test for a leaky toilet, start by checking the water level in the tank. It should rise to a half inch below the lip of the overfill tube. If the water level is fine, then it may be the rubber flapper which is an easy fix. To find a leak in the base, add a few drops of food color to the tank and do not flush for 15 minutes. If dye appears in the bowl, then you have found the leak. Flush before the bowl stains.
To find the source of a leaky showerhead, check the connection between the showerhead and the pipe stem. You can also check inside the showerhead to see if the O-ring is secure and in good condition.
You can identify leaky pipes by checking for condensation on their exterior surface. If the pipes are sweating, there could be a crack or a loosening seal.
Inspect all outdoor equipment for cracks and wear, such as hoses, seals, spigots, pool pumps, and ponds. If you have an irrigation system, inspect it every spring for underlying problems from frost. Examine all valves, sprinklers, and connections individually for dripping water and puddles.
When to Call a Professional
If you find the leaks can be corrected with a cheap part and your hands or a wrench, you can probably get away with doing the repair by yourself. If the leaks involve cracks in the equipment or seals, then it is time to call a professional plumber. Santa Cruz Plumbing would like to help save you the headache of a do-it-yourself project gone badly. No plumbing job is too big or too small for us.