Why Are My Pipes Leaking?

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Phil Puccio

You are a conscientious homeowner who keeps up with the maintenance of your plumbing. They clean the aerators and shower heads to remove mineral deposits. They inspect tub and sink drains for dirt and clear blockages if necessary. You clean the garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes then rinsing with hot water and baking soda. But a pipe starts leaking for no apparent reason.

As our colleagues at Mike Diamond formulate the situation: “If you haven’t damaged your pipe, why should it suddenly start leaking? Are your pipes broken? Is the leak a sign that something has gone terribly wrong? “

There are many causes of pipe leaks, but most are the result of age and wear and tear. Remember, if the leaks appear in the plumbing pipes that you see, you will be lucky. The most insidious of leaks occur within walls and under the foundation slab, where they go unnoticed until they eventually cause significant damage to drywall, floors, and even your electrical system. Our blog post – “How small leaks can lead to high repair costs“- deals with the effects of water damage in more detail.

Finding, repairing, and preventing pipe leaks is all about knowing where they are coming from and what to do – and how to prevent or postpone them for as long as possible.

What causes pipe leaks?

As mysterious as pipe leaks may seem to homeowners, there are factors that lead to this point. We can break down the general categories of age and wear and tear into more specific causes, which include the following:

Broken Seal – Most of your devices have seals where the water enters. Like any other part of a device, these seals can break or wear out over time. In this case, some of the water that should have flowed into the device may leak out instead.

Wooden shoes – Blockages cause water to back up, which puts great pressure on the inside of a pipe. Over time, all of this pressure wears away on the seals and the sides of the pipe walls. If the pressure on the weakened pipe walls or seals becomes too high, they will rupture and cause a leak.

Corrosion – The inside of the pipe walls can corrode or rust over time. This is faster with hard water, high pH (acid) or particularly high water pressure. Because pipes corrode, they cannot withstand the pressure or force of the water flowing through them. Eventually, this pressure and force can create a leak in a particularly corroded section.

Bad or loose pipe connections – A poorly executed repair or replacement can lead to poor connections and the above-mentioned effects of water pressure on pipes that are already at risk of clogging and corrosion.

Excessive use of drain cleaning chemicals – While liquid drain cleaners are usually the solution to clearing clogs, they can harm your plumbing infrastructure. Owners of older homes – especially those with cast iron pipes – need to be extra careful. It is preferable to use a snake or similar tool to pull out debris. Our blog post – “What Should You Do If Your Shower Drain Is Clogged?”- offers additional simple, non-chemical methods.

Tree roots penetrating your sewer pipes – Trees growing near the underground sewers on your property send out long forage roots in search of nutrients. Since a sewer pipe contains water and organic waste, it is a natural destination. Our blog post – “Are there tree roots in your sewer?“- deals extensively with this topic.

Physical displacements in the ground – Although Florida isn’t known for earthquakes, it’s known for afternoon torrential thunderstorms and the occasional tropical storm and hurricane. Heavy rainfall can cause the soil to shift when it has absorbed as much water as it can, affecting underground pipes.

Signs of a pipe leak

Now that you know the many causes of a pipe leak, knowing the signs of a hidden leak can help you avoid the additional costs of repairing the leak itself and resulting property damage. In addition, an undetected leak promotes mold growth, which is a serious health hazard – especially for the elderly and those with respiratory diseases. The presence of black mold (the most dangerous) requires not only the services of a Mould Renovation company, but also the removal of large parts of the wall.

Our colleagues at CroppMetcalfe Services offer the Signs to look out for:

Ceiling stains – For homes with a second floor, the internal pipes that carry water to the bathroom on the second floor can leak. A stain or discolored area in the ceiling directly below is a red flag. Call a plumber immediately!

Rusty pipes, fuse boxes or devices – Discoloration, stains, dents, and flaking are all signs that your pipes can corrode. If you notice rust on pipes, it is a clear sign of water damage. If you notice that your fuse box is starting to rust or moisture is building up, it is another sign that water is freely running inside your walls.

Damaged flooring – Bathroom floors rarely suffer from water damage unless there is a leak. However, if you notice that your soil is kinking, discolored, or cracking, hidden water may be the source. Wet spots, spongy or soft floors, and loose tiles can be signs of water damage. Whether the water came from a pipe under the ground or got there from another area, investigate as soon as possible before the current water damage causes a major problem.

Color or wallpaper discoloration – If moisture penetrates your walls, the paint shows signs of damage. You may notice peeling, discoloration, bubbles, or even cracks and warps. Since drywall and wood absorb moisture easily, water breaks down the fibers and makes them appear spongy and soft. If you notice chalky textures, changing wall colors, or peeling, water damage is likely the cause – and a leaky pipe is the cause.

Persistent odors – The most common odor associated with water damage is a musty, moldy odor. While you may be able to tell the source, it is not always obvious. As mentioned earlier, the presence of mold leads to an unhealthy environment. Trying to mask the smell with air fresheners won’t solve the problem or protect you and your family members from mold-related illnesses.

Higher water bills – If you notice a sudden spike in your water bill but haven’t used more water than usual, you could have a water leak.

Can you do handicrafts yourself or should you call a plumber?

There are very few water leaks that the typical homeowner can fix on their own. If you’re lucky and the leak is caused by a loose fitting, you may be able to fix it by grabbing the fitting with a plumber’s wrench and tightening it.

However, not every problem is obvious. A lack of skill, experience, professional-quality tools and knowledge of residential plumbing put non-plumbers at a disadvantage and can create the basis for major damage from a botched attempt at repair. Regular readers of our blog await our warning of reliance on YouTube videos for instructions on DIY repairs.

Your home is your most important investment. And while we admit plumbing repairs don’t come cheap, hiring a professional plumber will ensure the job is done properly and prevent future problems.

Our master plumbers participate Adam and Son plumbing do you think the more you know about the basic care and maintenance of plumbing, the better you can tell when it is time to call a professional to avoid even greater damage and expense. We pride ourselves on serving Central Florida homes and businesses with the highest levels of quality and experience for over 60 years. We are a family business and all of our plumbers are state-certified master plumbers. Contact us to get the plumbing of your home in top repair – and keep it going.

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Category – Plumbing

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