A small water leak isn't a small problem. Even the tiniest leak can cause widespread residential damage and expensive repairs.
Plumbing leaks are a top concern for Edmonton homeowners as ignored leaks lead to poor water quality, stained walls, mold infestations, and flooding. In severe circumstances, leaking pipes create widespread household damage that costs homeowners a fortune to repair.
If you're worried about plumbing leaks, don't be! We've compiled a helpful guide for homeowners that answers all your water leak questions. Let's dive in.
Causes of Plumbing Leaks in Your Home
Homeowners need to be aware of what causes plumbing problems to prevent them. Let's get to the reason behind your leaking pipes.
High Water Pressure
The high water pressure might be ideal for a hot shower, but it can wreak havoc on your pipes. High or irregular water pressure wears out your pipes, which leads to leaks.
As the water pushes through your pipes, it wears on the lining, and the intense pressure creates tiny leaks throughout your pipe. You may notice some areas of the pipe leaking one day while other parts leak the next. This is a clear sign your water pressure is stressing your plumbing line.
Keep in mind that extreme water pressure can also damage large household appliances. The pressure harms washing machines and dishwashers, which shortens their lifespan.
Tree Root Invasion
The trees around your yard sure look beautiful, until they cause severe damage to your pipes! Tree roots extend underground, sometimes growing as long as 25 meters. Vegetation gravitates toward water, nitrogen, and oxygen, which are all elements that can be found within your plumbing system.
As roots get close to your pipes, they may coil around them. The tree roots crush the pipes, which causes clogs, cracks, and leaks. In extreme cases, tree roots can completely destroy pipes.
If you notice slow drains, sinkholes in your yard, foul odors, and toilet backups, tree roots could be causing plumbing leaks.
As pipes age, they start to corrode. Pipeline corrosion occurs when the metal from your pipes dissolves due to water, residue, and other environmental factors. Corrosion weakens pipes, making them susceptible to cracking and leaking.
Corrosion is a major concern for older Edmonton homes. Acidic water or high water pressure are common causes of pipe corrosion in Canada. Poor plumbing and irregular plumbing maintenance also lead to pipe corrosion.
The more corrosion within your pipes, the higher your risk of developing leaks.
Your plumbing line runs below the surface, close to your home's foundation. Shifts in the foundation can create plumbing leaks.
As the soil around your home moistens, freezes, and thaws, the foundation moves. The shift can bend, break, or crush your pipes to create plumbing damage. Foundation shifts often create unnoticeable leaks, and over time, the leaks become worse. Slow foundation leaks can create massive problems for your home's structure.
Look out for unusually high water bills, wet spots, water pooling, soft spots in your flooring, or foul odors. These are common signs you may have a slow plumbing leak in your foundation.
Extreme Temperature Changes
Drastic shifts in temperature make pipes expand and contract. As the pipes shift, they may break or leak.
During cold Edmonton winters, the temperature often dips below freezing. Most of the time, hot water freezes first. When this occurs, water in your pipes freezes. When water freezes, it expands. This puts extreme pressure on your pipes and makes the pipes burst. Burst pipes create plumbing leaks and extensive water damage. To prevent problems in the winter, homeowners must protect their pipes.
Your pipes aren't safe in the summer, either. High summer temperatures loosen the soil around your water pipe, causing it to shift. Changes in soil conditions can damage plumbing systems and can lead to water leaks.
Clogged drains cause backups and overflow. Water will try to escape from the pipes, leading to plumbing leaks. Clogs trigger leaks connected to sinks, showers, and garbage disposals. The clogs also stress your pipes, which leads to corrosion and more leaking. Drains aren’t designed to hold water for long periods of time, it is meant to drain through them, so standing water in your drains can start to leak.
How to Prevent Plumbing Leaks
It's no secret plumbing leaks can lead to significant household damage. As a homeowner, knowing how to prevent plumbing leaks from devastating your Edmonton home can save you stress and money. Let's dive into the different ways you can stop plumbing leaks.
Check Your Water Pressure
High water pressure causes damage to your pipes, so keeping an eye on your home's water pressure is key. Just like you test your blood pressure, you can also test your water pressure.
Most Edmonton homes on city water should be around 60 psi of water pressure. Water pressure varies depending on where you're located and how far your home is from the municipal water source.
Most homes in Edmonton don’t have a water pressure regulator, but if you are in an area with unusually high pressure you may want to look into one.
Water pressure regulators last seven to 12 years. Sometimes, the water pressure may increase if your regulator breaks or dies. In that case, you'll need a new one.
If you're confused or don't have a water pressure regulator, contact your local Edmonton plumbing team for assistance. Regular water pressure maintenance prevents extreme pressure and plumbing leaks.
Keep Your Pipes Warm in the Winter
Take precautions to prevent pipes from bursting during the winter months. Pipes start to have problems when the weather drops to -5°C or colder. Edmonton homeowners must be mindful of their plumbing systems and keep an eye on the temperature to prevent plumbing leaks in the winter.
When the temperature is falling, direct warm air toward your pipes. Plumbing located outside of your home, in the basements, or close to walls and windows is most likely to freeze. Make sure heat reaches those areas to prevent water from freezing inside your pipes. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to help warm air circulate your pipes when it's really cold out.
To prepare for winter, Edmonton residents should make sure their home is well insulated. The insulation traps heat and helps those areas of your home maintain warm temperatures. The insulation can also prevent drafts and cracks.
Be Mindful of What You Put Down the Drain
Reduce stress on your pipes to prevent plumbing leaks. Be mindful of what you do and don't put it down your drain. Lowering your risk of clogs leads to a healthier and leak-free pipe.
In the kitchen, refrain from washing cooking grease down your pipes. Grease clings to your pipe’s inside wall, causing blockages. Instead, use an old can or container to collect leftover grease. When the container is full, throw it in the garbage.
Don't dump your coffee grounds into your sink, either. The grounds clump together instead of breaking down. Dispose of coffee grounds outside or add them to your mulch pile.
Eggshells should go in the trash. Purchase a drain gate to stop hair and soap scum from making their way into your drain.
Paper products like tissues, paper towels, cotton balls, and Q-tips don't belong in your drain. These materials easily build up and create clogs, which cause plumbing leaks.
Regardless of how hard you try, hazardous items may still find their way down your drain. Eventually, you may end up with a clog even if you’re careful, but being careful will keep them from happening as often as they otherwise might.
Schedule Regular Plumbing Maintenance
Keeping up with preventative drain maintenance and cleanings will help to prevent plumbing leaks. Professional care lowers your risk of leaks as well as other plumbing problems.
What does regular maintenance provide?
Technicians can clean your drains and pipes using hydro jetting technology. Hydro jetting eliminates blockages and removes residue that corrodes pipes, lowering your risk of plumbing leaks.
Plumbing experts may also flush your water heater to remove mineral sediment inside your water tank. Mineral buildup accelerates corrosion and can rupture indoor flooding. Homeowners should flush their water tanks at least once a year.
Aside from stopping leaks, preventative pipe maintenance protects your pipes from other problems. Regular maintenance keeps pipes clean, reduces clogs, and lengthens your plumbing system's lifespan.
How to Spot Plumbing Leaks
To protect your home, you must be able to spot plumbing leaks early. From high water bills to peeling paint, let's review how to detect water leaks in your home.
High Water Bills
Leaky fixtures and appliances lead to a spike in your water expenses. The stronger the leak, the more water wasted, and the more money you have to pay.
Toilets are responsible for 31% of indoor water use. If the pipes within your toilet's plumbing system leak, you can waste over 22,000 liters of water a month. That adds hundreds or thousands of dollars to your water bill.
A hidden leak within your pipes constantly wastes water and money. A leaking faucet, for example, loses 64 liters of water a day. In 2009, Ontario discovered 25% of its drinking water, which equals $700 million, was being wasted.
Homeowners should monitor their water bills regularly. If you notice a sudden spike in water usage and expenses, you may have a hidden water leak.
There are now new smart products that install on your main water line that monitor for leaks 24/7 and will alert you when one is detected! To those who have had leaks in the past, you’ll appreciate why we are so excited about this new technology! Ask your plumber about it today!
Plumbing leaks cause moist surfaces and standing water. After a few days, the moisture creates unpleasant smells.
Observe uncommon smells throughout your home. If you detect rotten odors in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, or laundry room, there may be a leaking pipe. Pay close attention to where your pipes are, such as below your kitchen and bathroom sinks. The smell will get stronger the closer you get to the leak.
Mold and Mildew
Water leaks are known to lead to mold and mildew growth. The water creates a humid and moist environment, which is where mold thrives. The longer the leak goes undetected, the more mold and mildew will grow.
If you keep your home clean and dry but still find mold and mildew, you may have a leak. Mold first appears in white or black specks. When mold and mildew sprout, they create a musty scent. Sometimes you can smell it before you see it.
Mold and mildew can eat through building materials and weaken your home's structure. Mold also contributes to health issues, such as throat irritation and respiratory conditions. If ceiling mold gets out of control, your home may become unsafe to live in.
Edmonton homeowners need to keep an eye on their homes. Spotting mold can lead to discovering plumbing leaks.
Visible Water Damage
A lot of your home's plumbing may run behind walls and under floorboards. When the pipes are leaking, immense structural damage occurs. Homeowners need to know what signs to look for to detect hidden leaking pipes.
Plumbing leaks beneath floorboards can warp the wood. This results in abnormal lumps and bumps on your floors. If ignored, the leaking water can deteriorate and rot the wood, which damages your home's structure.
Water leaking behind your walls removes paint and peeling wallpaper. The leaking water may also de-laminate plywood. Dark water spots may appear randomly around your walls.
If leaks are caught in time, homeowners can prevent serious damage. If not, the leaking pipes can weaken your floor, ceiling, and walls, putting you and your family in physical danger.
Treating Plumbing Leaks in Your Edmonton Home
If you notice plumbing leaks in your home, don't panic!
Instead, call your local plumbing team to handle everything. No matter how big or small, it's best to leave plumbing repairs to the professionals. A team of qualified technicians can repair current damage as well as search for leaks you may not have discovered.
Mr. Rooter is Edmonton's trusted plumbing partner, with years of experience solving piping problems. If you have plumbing leaks in your home, contact us now. We'll be at your door and ready to make repairs in no time.