How to Find a Plumbing Leak in your Home

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A plumbing leak in your Florida home can cause many issues, from outrageous water bills to serious water damage costing thousands to correct. Knowing some valuable tips on how to check for plumbing leaks can help prevent excessive water damage due to long term leaks and also help you avoid mold and rot.

Watch your water bill.

In most cases, the water line running to your home is metered for billing purposes. If you don’t pay close attention to your water bill, you can miss a small but significant increase that remains for months, while water is being wasted from a leak and causing damage to your home. Take a look at the part of the bill that shows month over month usage and see if there is an upward trend that isn’t attributable to visitors in the house, summer watering, or other causes.

Read your meter.

Finding a leak starts with shutting off all normal sources of water flow. Turn off all water running in your home, read your water meter, and then read it again after 2 hours have passed. If there is a change, there is water leaking somewhere. Leave the water off, and go searching for the leak.

Check your hot water tank.

If a pressure relief valve is plugged directly into a drain pipe, it could be leaking without your knowledge. If there is a hissing sound, it could be a simple leak into a pipe, not through a pipe, meaning you need to have it fixed, but there should be no water damage.

Test your toilets.

Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank, and wait for ten minutes. If color appears in the bowl, you have a flapper leak that can easily be repaired either DIY style or by calling a plumber. Again, there is probably no water damage going on, but check for signs of leakage around the base of the toilet, mold, or warped flooring while you are at it.

Walk your yard.

If you don’t know where your water line runs, have the utility come out and mark it, and then walk the area around the buried pipe. Are there any soft and muddy spots, or areas where water collects with no apparent cause? This can be a sign of an exterior water leak.

Listen to your pipes.

You can place the tip of a long screwdriver against hose bibs, faucets, and pipe connectors and hold your thumb knuckle over the end of the handle. Press the area directly in front of your ear onto your knuckle and the setup will act like a stethoscope. Any sounds of hissing, dripping, or trickling indicates a leak. If you hear something, try other spots in the piping to see if it gets louder or quieter.

If any of these tips help you locate the sounds or appearance of a leak, you can share this information with your plumber. This could help them save time in finding and fixing the leak, cutting your costs for repairs and lessening any damage that could be going on inside your walls or under your floors. If you have water damage from a leak, make sure you call your insurance company first to report it immediately.