LEAKY PIPES: THE 10 MOST COMMON CAUSES
If left unrepaired, a leak can result in wastewater, which encourages unwanted growth and foul smells in your home. As a homeowner, it is crucial to be aware of the potential damage caused by a leak. Unfortunately, preventing such damage is not always straightforward (especially for homeowners with little or no plumbing experience).
There are several reasons for this, including the fact that you cannot see most of the pipework in your house, so you may not always be aware when there is a leak in your system.
1. Seals that are broken
Not all plumbing consists of metal pipes. When appliances are installed, a contractor places rubber sealant around any connections or areas like your dishwasher door to keep everything watertight. As your appliances age, the sealing can degrade and even break over time. If you’ve noticed condensation on your appliances or puddles near them, you may have a broken seal.
2. Lines that are clogged
While a clog may seem like an urgent threat, it may lead to overflowing or even burst pipes. This results in pressure building behind the blockage, potentially causing structural damage. Furthermore, if a blockage contains corrosive substances such as household chemicals, it can speed up the damages.
Installing hair traps and monitoring what goes down the gutter can prevent clogs from forming in your pipes. Clogs may also occur if obstructions are present in the air handler drain pans and in your gutters. Keep your gutters and HVAC system clean to prevent this.
As your plumbing system ages, rust and other forms of corrosion can eat away at the pipes in your home and eventually create an opening for water to escape through. It may be time for an upgrade if you have developed leaks in your home in the past few years. Brass pipes can last for up to 70 years, while galvanized steel pipes can begin to fail around 20 years. You can also develop corrosion on your pipes if your water’s pH and mineral content are out of balanced.
4. Incorrect Pipe Laying
Many leaks that result in emergencies result from incorrect pipe laying. Plumbing systems, especially those in new homes, should always be handled by a professional. Since plumbing systems require water to flow against gravity, it is important to lay pipes and connectors properly and use backflow devices when necessary. Please contact a reputable plumber if you suspect your plumbing has been installed improperly.
5. Damaged Pipe Joints
Water is redirected throughout your home by joints, which are composed of separate curved pieces attached to straight pipes on either side.
The extreme temperatures and excessive water pressure may cause pipe joints to deteriorate over time. If your pipes are making a ticking or banging noise when running hot water, there is a good chance they are experiencing joint problems.
6. Underground Movements
The growth of tree roots, flooding and even small earthquakes can shift the location of your pipes, resulting in underground leaks. As the ground moves, your pipes can twist, bend, crack, or separate – causing underground leaks. If you notice slow draining or issues with your water supply, underground movements (or shifted joinery) may be the cause. It is imperative to hire a plumber to inspect and maintain your underground pipelines in order to avoid repairs.
7. High Water Pressure
If you have high water pressure in your shower, you are more likely to experience leaks. In extreme cases, incorrect pressure can cause pipes to burst. Most pipes and faucets are only designed to withstand 60 PSI of water pressure. If you are concerned about your pressure or have noticed leaking, have a licensed plumber test the pressure and make any necessary adjustments.
8. Intruding Tree Roots
It is actually possible for some of the most common water leaks to originate outside of the home. Tree roots can interfere with water lines causing moisture to seep into the yard. It is important to have a plumber check for intruding roots in any wet patches of your yard, sinkholes, sudden drops in water pressure or trees growing very close to your home.
9. Loose Water Connectors
A loose or damaged water connector can lead to a leak in your appliances if it occurs due to shifting or movement. For example, your washing machine’s hose may spring a leak when it shakes during spin cycle. If you notice water running directly from the supply line or forming puddles around the appliances, it is likely that the water connector is loose or damaged.
10. Fixture Cracks
When you observe leaking, a faucet or the pipes directly connected to it may be cracked. It is common for this to occur as a result of physical impact, such as a person tripping and hitting the faucet. It can also occur out of sight (such as under a sink) as a result of repeated items being forced into a cupboard. You should contact a plumber as soon as possible if you observe any damage to a fixture or its surrounding pipes.
The presence of any of the circumstances above can indicate that your plumbing is failing, which can ultimately result in more serious water damage. As a homeowner, you should pay attention to the way your plumbing performs. At Zona plumbing, we are available 24/7 to help you restore your system to working order if you have noticed an increase in your water bill, musty smell around a drain, change in water flow, or other warning signs.