It’s important to fix leaks as soon as they are found. It doesn’t matter what fixture is leaking, it has the potential to cause significant damage to your property if left ignored.
As a property owner, it’s your responsibility to check for leaks, and organise a licensed plumber to fix them.
Why It’s Important to Fix Leaks
Leaks can cause
- Building damage to your home
- Structural damage if left for too long
- Attract termites
- Be an uninsurable event if ignored and allowed to damage extensive areas of the home
Here are some areas to check for leaks
Check every tap in your home in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry and outside.
When you turn the tap off, you shouldn’t have to over tighten the handle to stop drips through the spout. If you do, this is a clear indication that the washers need to be replaced.
Mixer taps may leak from the middle or drip through the spout. The cartridge can be replaced or a whole new mixer depending on how old the tap is.
Under sinks and basins
Check the waste trap attached to these fixtures to check for drips and re-tighten the trap if needed.
Sometimes the rubber rings in the traps perish over time so a new trap may need to be installed.
Fixing leaks in cupboards prevents them from buckling and swelling due to moisture. Mould can grow behind the vanity and under the kicker cabinetry if the leak is long-term.
Check the water pipes that are exposed in the cupboards for any possible leaks. Sometimes a nut and olive needs to be tightened or replaced OR the flex hoses connecting the taps to the water supply may need replacing.
If you notice the toilet cistern refills when no one has used the toilet, this is a sign of an internal leak. You are literally allowing water and money go down the toilet if you don’t fix this leak straight away. A replacement of the inlet valve and rubber cistern washer can fix this to prevent the cistern constantly filling up.
A common leak on the toilet waste is through the rubber seal on the toilet pan collar. Waste water can overflow over the rubber and onto the floor.
The pan collar can be replaced to fix this leak. Fixing this leak can stop water damage to tiles in the toilet area.
Shower tray leaks are especially important to check and get fixed immediately.
If you live in a double-storey home, check the ceiling underneath the shower waste to see if it is damp. If the ceiling is not concealed and you can see the shower trap, check there is no water dampness on the floor (you should see a water stain if there is a leak).
For houses built on slab, check the surrounding walls outside the shower and architraves water damage like swelling to plasterboard walls, skirting and architraves.
A shower tray test can be conducted using dye to determine if the tray leaks and if there may be a compromise with the waterproof membrane. Your plumber can conduct a leak location report to advise on their findings.
If the shower tray is found to be leaking, it’s important to get a price to replace it because if the water soaks into the timber framing of the house it will attract termites. It’s best to organise a termite inspection to identify any termite activity in the bathroom area and provide a tailor made solution for your property.
Hot water leaks
Hot water units can leak for various reasons. Check for any leaks out of valves and out of the hot water cylinder itself.
Winter is the time that most older hot water units decide to breakdown, so it’s in your best interest to check the state of your hot water unit. If it’s an electrical storage hot water unit and you can see rust at the bottom of the cylinder, you may need to look at replacing it as soon as possible.
Water pipe leaks
Leaks from water pipes are harder to find as they can be concealed in the walls of your home.
The only indication of a water leak from a pipe is damage to the wall and floor where you will see dampness and swelling through the walls and architraves.
Sometimes you may hear a hissing noise if there is a leak from a water pipe.
If there is notable damage to the walls, you may need to make a cut into the plasterboard wall to see where the moisture is coming from.
Cutting a square out of the wall is better than breaking holes in as the square cut out can be re-plastered back into its spot without having to replace a large section of the plasterboard wall.
Gutters and Downpipes
When it rains check your gutters and down pipes to ensure water doesn’t overflow out of them or up through the storm water grates.
There could be many causes for storm water leaks from rusted gutters that may need to be replaced or smeared with a sealant to prevent water flowing out (this would be a more temporary solution).
Storm water drains may need to be unblocked to allow water to run through them and this can be done by simply spraying your hose full bore down the storm water drain. If water still flows back out of the drain, you may need a plumber with a jet rodding machine to fix the problem or they may put down a camera to see if there is a blockage in the pipe like tree roots.
To confirm whether your house has a water leak it’s best to check the water meter.
If the dial is continually running around and the numbers consistently flip over, and you know that there is no water being used inside the home, you will have a water leak.
Sometimes the dial can ever so slowly move around so that is why it’s important to check all areas of the home where there is water connected to check for visible damage caused by a leak.
Another reason to check all areas of your home for leaks is because some leaks are caused by waste pipes. Your water meter won’t help identify them as it only tallies the amount of water used in the home, not the amount of waste water.
Hopefully, from this post you can understand why it’s important to fix leaks around the home.