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Leak Detection Tips

Water leaks can cause considerable damage to your home if they are not detected early and handled quickly. Luckily, there are some ways to detect if you have a leak in your home before the damage is too far gone. Check out the most common causes of leaks in your home and how to detect them.

Toilets

The leading source of a leak in your home is your toilet because they use the most amount of water. Sometimes its easy to tell if a toilet is leaking because you will be able to hear it, but leaks can also be dangerously silent.

There are several causes for these leaks, but the most common is due to the flapper valve not creating a tight enough seal to keep water from escaping.

Detection

Conduct routine visual checks around your toilet to see if there are any signs of a leak such as puddles, mold or mildew. You can also detect leaks using food colouring or dye tablets (dye tablets available at Aquatera for free). Simply flush your toilet, remove the tank lid, and drop 10 drops of food colouring or one dye tablet into your tank. Let it sit for 30 minutes, without flushing. After 30 minutes, if you see coloured water in the tank or bowl this indicates you have a leak. If the water is colourless, then you don’t.

Showers and Bathtubs

Shower and bathtub leaks are very common in the bathroom and, while they sound minor, can cause extensive damage if the source isn’t repaired quickly. These leaks can be caused by easily fixable issues such as re-caulking, or something more serious such as damaged pipes behind walls and tile.

Detection

You may notice visual signs of leaks quite easily such as standing water on the floor, lifting tiles or curling vinyl, peeling paint, water stains and mold or mildew.

If you don’t notice these signs but want to be proactive, there are a few simple tests you can use. If you have a glass shower door, splash water around the frame. Wait a few minutes to see if water starts seeping out – this will indicate any gaps around the frame or rubber gasket. You should also inspect the caulking around your shower/bathtub.

Washing Machine

Laundry rooms have the second highest usage of water, coming in next to bathrooms, which makes them a common source of leaks in your home. Whether you have a front load washer or top load washer, leaks can occur at the front/top, back or bottom. This can be a result of the machine being off-balance, over-filled, using too much detergent, loose or blocked hoses, or damaged water pumps. For details, check out this great resource.

Detection

If your washing machine is leaking, you will know it! But you can prevent it from happening or address it as soon as it does happen. The most common source of leaks on washing machines are the hoses (internal and external) so be sure to check them to ensure the fittings are tightly secured and the hoses themselves aren’t defective.

Water pumps drain water from the tub after the washing cycle. They will have an outlet or a drain hose, so look for signs of leaks from the hose connected to the pump. If the hose is in good condition then the leak could be originating from the pump, in which case it will need to be replaced.

For more information, check out this great guide.

Water Heaters

Water heaters most often leak when they have reached their life expectancy and the tank starts to disintegrate. A deteriorated tank leads to a slow leak or a sudden rupture.

Detection

To determine if your water heater has a leak, there are five common sources to inspect: water supply lines, water heater nipples, temperature and pressure relief valve, drain line and tank. In most cases, these issues can be easily resolved by replacing the lines, valves, nipples and caps but if the leak is originating from the tank, the water heater can’t be fixed and will need to be replaced.

Be proactive and conduct monthly maintenance.

Sewer/Sump Pump

Sewer/sump pumps are a homeowner’s first line of defense against a basement flood. Unfortunately, they can fail, leading to leaks and costly damage to your home. The most common causes of leaks are cracked sump pumps, damaged hoses and clamps and issues with the sump pit (size).

Detection

While some leaks will be obvious, not all leaks will be apparent, so it is important to conduct routine inspections, so you don’t suffer from sewer/sump pump failure. Asses your sump pump for cracks; check your hoses and hose clamps for holes and damage; examine your sump pit – if water continues to overflow from your sump pit then it is likely not big enough and, chances are, your home is experiencing more water underneath it.

Refrigerators and Dishwashers

Your fridge and dishwasher are two of the most important appliances in your home. Afterall, the kitchen is gathering centre in most people’s homes. While you may spend most of your time near them, these leaks generally occur out of sight so you may not even be aware of them.

Detection

To detect refrigerator leaks, inspect the water supply line and tube to ensure they are not damaged, and are securely attached to their connections. Check the back of the fridge a few times a year for any signs of moisture, wall damage or leaks.

For dishwashers, you will want to examine the hose, seals and valves. Check under the dishwasher a few times a year (while it is running) for any signs of dampness or dripping water. 

Humidifier

Unfortunately, leaks can be quite common in humidifiers, particularly if they have not been well maintained. Leaks typically occur due to blocked drainpipes, clogged evaporator pads, and defective solenoid valves.

Detection

Check your drainpipes to see if there is a blockage or a kink. Not only could there be an air lock, but if the line is twisted, it won’t drain properly. Inspect your evaporator pads for the formation of hard water scales. This can prevent the pad from absorbing water, and it must go somewhere. Examine your solenoid valve to ensure it is not damaged and it is properly adjusted.

Faucets

Some faucet leaks are obvious and an easy fix, but that’s not always the case. The most common locations for faucet leaks are the spout, the base of the faucet and underneath the sink.

Detection

Leaks from the spout are usually visible if they’ve been there for a while, but you may not notice them in the early stages. If you suspect a leak, place a cup or bowl underneath the spout and check after a few minutes to see if there is water in it.

Leaks around the base of the faucet are less obvious because water is constantly splashing around the base. To check for a leak here, start by cleaning up all the standing water so you have a dry surface. Turn on the handles(s) and check for water seeping out around the base.

Leaks under the sink often go unnoticed yet are one of the most damaging. Detect a leak by removing everything from underneath the sink, then run some water to see if it is leaking. If it is, check the water supply connections and sink drain connections to see if they are loose.

It is important to routinely monitor your home or workplace for leaks as this will help prevent and address leaks that lead to costly damages and repairs. It will also lower your water bill!

If you have questions about leaks in your home or workplace, Aquatera is here to help! Contact us by email at myaccount@aquatera.ca or by phone at 780.538.0340.