Water Leaks: Our Best Tips on How to Check for Them
Water leaks may start as small and irritating problems, but even a little moisture sets off bigger problems. Mildew, mold, rot, and even structural damage can all arise when a water leak goes without detection for too long. Aside from major appliances like water heaters that households should protect with sensors and alarms, homeowners must be vigilant in the kitchen and bathroom. Look for these signs of water leaks regularly.
One of the earliest signs of a minor leak under a sink or appliance is a musty odor in the room. Many bathrooms develop these smells due to damp towels or mats, so make sure to dry out the space thoroughly first. Try to trace any mustiness back to the plumbing that might be leaking. Hire a water detection service with non-damaging infrared cameras and probes to determine exactly where the leak is if the musty smell persists.
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Dampness and Discoloration
Any visual changes in the materials around or under plumbing should attract attention. This includes discoloration, sagging, swelling, or warping. Feel around under sinks and in cabinets every few months to make sure there’s no lingering dampness. Damp-sensing packets that change color when there’s a high level of moisture can also help indicate if there’s a very slow leak or drip somewhere.
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Dye Test the Toilet
Toilets are often the cause of a leak, but finding the exact part that’s bad isn’t always easy. A dye test is an easy way to see how much water is running out of a toilet and where it might be going. Put food coloring in the toilet tank while it’s sitting still and not running. If dye appears in the bowl instantly or within a few minutes, the toilet is leaking. Dye appearing on the floor around the toilet indicates a leaking wax ring or cracked base.
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Watch the Meter
The final way a homeowner can check for leaks on their own is to check their water meter. Turn off every water-using appliance you have installed and see if the meter is still running. Make sure to catch any irrigation equipment or water softeners that can run on constantly in the background. If the meter continues to move with nothing on, water is definitely leaking out somewhere.