Have you ever received a water bill that seemed unusually high?
If so... You might have a leak in your plumbing somewhere.
In our Angie's List report this week... We see how to spot a leak, and why it's so important to deal with it right away.Plumbing -- it's one of those things we take for granted... until something goes wrong.
And especially if you don't catch it right away.. A leak can lead to serious damage and costly repairs.
Angie Hicks says "Water can be your home's worst enemy. Leaving leaks unattended can lead to serious damage to your home. For example, a leak behind a wall could require drywall repair. A small drywall repair job can cost as much as $400, not to mention if you end up with mold. For example, a mold remediation job can be anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars."
Plumbing Contractor Justin Dorsey says: "One of the things we find is a lot of homeowners do not go into their crawl space or their attic but sometimes just a routine inspection of someone going into the crawl space and following the plumbing pipe and checking those pipes often is one good way to do that - to find a leak."
It's always best to tackle plumbing leaks - even small ones - immediately.
Hicks says: "Easy signs of leaks in your house could be the fact that you have stains on your walls, if you have wallpaper that's buckling, or even a wooden floor that's buckling, or if you just smell a musty smell you need to have that investigated."
The leak could also be in or around your toilet.. Which may or may not be causing damage to your home.. But it's definitely wasting water.
There are a couple of simple ways to check if your toilet is leaking.
Place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 15 minutes.
If the food coloring has entered the toilet bowl without the toilet being flushed you know you have a leak there.
Another thing you can do - is lay toilet paper along the base of the toilet and flush.
Dorsey says: "If it's leaking you'll begin to see the water wicking into the tissue paper. Or if it's dripping from the tank it will drip down and hit the toilet paper and you'll see it. That's one way to tell if there's even the slightest leak."
It's important to know where your water shut off valve is located in your home if you do have a leak.
If you can't locate it, a plumber can help.
Angie Hicks suggests: "When hiring a plumber, a plumber typically needs to have a trade license - a plumbing license. You need to be sure that you are not confusing that with a business license. All companies typically need a business license to operate, but plumbing needs a plumbing specific license."
According to the EPA, a leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water each day, so fixing a leaky toilet is great way to reduce water consumption and your water bill.
A couple of other possible sources of wasted water: a dripping faucet or a garden hose left open.