There is something wrong with the plumbing system in your Ottawa home—but what? If you are experiencing issues such as discoloured water coming out of the tap, or moisture damage on the wall, or disgusting sewer back-ups, all those unpleasant symptoms could lead back to one big problem: a cracked pipe.
Most Ottawa homes have lines that carry potable water into the building so it is available whenever you turn on the faucet, and sewer lines that carry wastewater off your property and deposit it into the City of Ottawa sanitary sewer. Even a tiny hole or hairline split in a cracked pipe on either water or sewer lines can cause major issues that threaten the structural stability of your house and can cause serious health risks for you and your family—not to mention drain your bank account by increasing charges on your utility bill.
If you suspect a cracked pipe on your Ottawa property, it needs to be dealt with immediately by an experienced Ottawa plumber. But how do you know if you have this problem in the first place? It's not always as obvious as people think. This guide covers 11 signs that you have a cracked pipe in either your sewer or water lines. Spotted one (or multiple) of these symptoms on your property? Call the skilled plumbing professionals at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa to get it resolved quickly and efficiently before it gets much worse.
Signs of a Water Line Cracked Pipe in Ottawa
Access to clean, fresh water is obviously very important for health, safety, and sanitary reasons. That's why cracked pipes can be such a huge problem for Ottawa homeowners. Any break in the lines that carry water into your house could cause dirt or bacteria contamination that can sicken the people in your home. And, since you have to pay for the water that is supplied to your property, a leak in a broken pipe can cause a surprising amount to be wasted and significantly inflate the charges on your monthly utility bill. Here are some of the most common telltale signs of a cracked pipe along your supply lines.
Discoloured or Dirty Water
Your water supply should be totally clear and odourless—it may appear cloudy at first because of pressure from the faucet, but it should quickly settle. When you turn on faucets in your sink, bathtub, or shower, does the water appear dirty or discoloured, or have particles of dirt or rust floating in it? That is a big indication that something is not right, and you should not consume it or use it for bathing or washing items such as dishes until it is confirmed to be safe. The problem could be caused by either a cracked pipe or corrosion on the inside of your line, but either way you’ll want an appointment for Ottawa plumbing repairs to restore your water supply to a clean, safe condition.
Inconsistent Water Pressure
If you have noticed fluctuating pressure from your faucets—it seems fine when you use it one time, but the next time the pressure has dropped—you may assume it is a problem with Ottawa's public supply. But, chances are good that the pressure is being compromised by a cracked pipe. That is really hard on your plumbing fittings and can lead to serious leakage, not to mention additional wear and tear that will have your fittings needing to be replaced before their time.
Sound of Dripping or Running Water
Drip... drip... drip... that obnoxious sound is bad enough when it is coming from a leaky faucet, but if you can hear dripping water—or much worse, a running stream—and you don't know where the noise is coming from, that should be causing alarm. You may also see visible signs of moisture damage, such as brown stains on your walls or ceiling, damp, rotting floorboards, or soggy patches of carpet. While there is the occasional innocent explanation like condensation dripping inside a line, it usually indicates that you have a plumbing leak. Even a tiny leak can cause a lot of damage in a very short amount of time, so if you suspect a leak and you don't know where it is, turn off your main water valve and call an Ottawa plumber right away.
Puddles Under Fixtures
When you discover a big puddle of water under or near your sink, the natural conclusion is that there is a leak somewhere in the visible part of the pipes or pipe fittings underneath the sink. If you do see a leak, put a bucket under it and call your plumber. Even wrapping a towel around the leaking part or slapping some duct tape on it as a (very) temporary measure is better than nothing. But if you can't see any reason for the mystery puddle, take a good, hard look at the wall around the pipe cover plates, where the visible part of the pipe enters the wall. In some cases, cracked pipes in Ottawa actually leak through the drywall and make it look like a leak is coming directly from the sink.
If the charges on your water bill suddenly increased and you're not sure why, it is possible that a cracked pipe is responsible for wasting water—and wasting your money. If you can't see any outward signs of a leak, one way to confirm is by checking your water meter. Right before you go to bed, turn off all plumbing fixtures and plumbing-related appliances, then look at the water meter and note down the position of the indicator. In the morning, before you flush the toilet or use any other fixtures, go check again. If the indicator has significantly changed position or is actively moving, you probably have a hidden leak.
This is an issue that can occur in either your water or sewer line when you have a cracked pipe in Ottawa that is buried underground. There are parts of your plumbing system that are buried under the concrete slab of your building's foundation. When those pipes spring a slab leak, the excess water erodes the soil underneath the foundation and part of the building can begin to sink. Because the leak doesn't necessarily cause any noticeable warning signs, the first indication of a problem can be cracks in your foundation, or even stress cracks appearing in other places such as drywall, tile grout, and brick mortar.
While it can be challenging to locate and repair a leak that is buried under a concrete slab, our team of expert plumbers has the right tools and equipment to pinpoint the nature and location of the problem. That includes slab leak detection techniques such as video camera inspection, infrared heat map imaging, and acoustic listening devices.
Signs of a Sewer Line Cracked Pipe in Ottawa
Sewer line damage such as a cracked pipe is going to exhibit different symptoms and warning signs than a problem with your water line. Cracked or broken sewer lines in Ottawa can cause serious damage to your property, make your home a lot less sanitary, and even create health risks that threaten the safety of your family. You may not be excited to get the news that you need sewer pipe repair, but a sewer line crack is not something you can ignore. Here are the signs Ottawa homeowners should be aware of.
Water Drains Slowly
Does wastewater take what seems like forever to drain out of fixtures such as your sinks, bathtub, or shower? Most people in Ottawa have to deal with the issue of a slow drain at some point (or many points), and it is usually just a run-of-the-mill clog. But clogged drains, especially in combination with other signs of sewage line trouble, could indicate a bigger issue like a cracked pipe.
Stubborn or Frequent Clogs
As we mentioned above, clogs are a very common—yet incredibly irritating—experience for everyone in Ottawa. But if you have a clog that just won't go away no matter how much you plunge, or you think you have dealt with a clog only to have it happen all over again next time you use that fixture, your Ottawa plumbing system could be suffering from a deeper underlying problem like a cracked pipe.
When you are seeing visible raw sewage backing up into low-lying fixtures such as a toilet, bathtub, shower, or floor drain, you probably don't need us to tell you that is not a good thing. Sewer backups are dangerously unsanitary, but they also indicate a very serious problem with your plumbing system such as a cracked pipe, and you should not use your plumbing system until you have gotten plumbing repairs.
Is there a disgusting, musty sewer odour wafting out of your drains, or can you smell it in places such as your basement or outside the house? Odours that smell like raw sewage, mold, or rotting food can be related to a bad clog in your sewer line, but that clog may be caused by a cracked pipe. Those gross smells are an early warning sign of a problem, so it is a good idea to get them taken care of before the damage, and the smell for that matter, gets any worse.
Puddles of Water or Unusual Lush Spots on Lawn
Is a patch of grass on your lawn suddenly a lot greener and healthier looking than the rest of the yard? That might seem like a good thing at first, but it's not. It is a sign that the grass in that area is getting an extra dose of "fertilizer" in the form of leaking wastewater from a cracked pipe underground. Or, you may find a big soggy patch on your lawn where puddles don't typically form. This is another big sign that there is wastewater leaking from a buried, cracked pipe in Ottawa.
What Caused My Cracked Pipe in Ottawa?
Our team of Ottawa plumbers has seen and repaired a lot of cracked pipes in Ottawa. While we can't tell you what caused your particular problem until we are able to inspect your system, here are a few common causes of cracked pipes in Ottawa:
Tree Root Intrusion: Trees can have far-reaching roots that wrap themselves around buried pipes and constrict until the line eventually cracks. Once the roots touch water inside the pipe, they grow rapidly and block the flow of water. Damage from tree roots is a typical cause of cracked pipes in Ottawa.
Frozen Pipes: In cold weather, lines that are not adequately insulated can freeze. When the water inside freezes and expands, it creates a lot of pressure and can cause damage. That expanding ice is another common cause of cracked pipes in Ottawa.
Old Age: Your plumbing system can withstand a lot of abuse and be surprisingly long-lived, but it won't last forever. Over time the lines will deteriorate and can suffer from a cracked pipe and numerous other issues.
Once our Ottawa plumbing experts have had the opportunity to inspect and diagnose your plumbing system in person, we can explain what happened to cause the problem. We can also give you our recommendation for the best repair or replacement options. If you are dreading the thought of having your yard or walls ripped up to access your pipes, don't worry—we use non-invasive, trenchless pipe repair and replacement techniques that are efficient and highly effective.
Do You Need Repairs for a Cracked Pipe in Ottawa? Call Your Local Plumbers Right Away!
Whether you are in Vanier, Centretown, or another part of the Ottawa area, you can count on the experienced team of plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Ottawa to deliver the highest standards of quality workmanship and dedicated customer service.
Pick up the phone and give us a call today at 613-746-0000 to schedule a convenient appointment time, or to chat with our friendly customer service representatives about what we can do to get your plumbing system back in perfect working order.