Look Out for These Three Common Household Leaks

As a homeowner, you understand many of the dangers of an unaddressed leak. You know that standing or seeping water can undermine your home's foundation, encourage mould and waste water. But do you know how to identify these leaks early on before they cause problems?

One of your best tools to stop leaks is knowing where to find them. While every home operates slightly differently, many home plumbing systems exhibit similar wear patterns over time.

In this blog, we discuss three of the most common leak locations and how you can identify these issues before your basement floods, your water bill spikes or your wallpaper peels.

1. Bathroom Appliances

Your bathtub, shower, toilet and sink handle some of the heaviest water flow in your home. It's no wonder that often these appliances show corrosion and other types of damage first.

Later on, we'll discuss faucets and your toilet specifically, but one of the most frequent and least known leak types occurs around an appliance's seal.

When a contractor places a toilet, tub or sink, he or she seals the gap between the floor and the appliance. However, over time this seal can develop holes. If you notice pooled water when an appliance hasn't been used in some time, call a plumber. Because your bathroom processes so much water, a small leak in this room can quickly become a major issue.

2. Faucets

Many homeowners suffer through the noise and irritation of dripping taps, whether the faucet be in the kitchen sink, shower or master bathroom. While these tiny leaks seem like no big deal, they waste huge amounts of water.

In fact, some experts estimate that the average single leaking faucet wastes 3.7 cubic metres (1,000 gallons) of water each year. It's no wonder a leaking faucet can quickly raise your water bill.

While many leaking faucets produce audible noises or visible puddles, not all do. If you aren't sure that you have a leaky faucet, place a towel or plastic bag over the faucet for a day. If the trap collected water after you turned it off, it's sprung a leak.

3. Toilet

When you think of a toilet leak, you may imagine the distinct noise of a running toilet. Unfortunately, most toilet leaks aren't so easy to detect. Studies show that as many as 35% of residential toilets have some degree of leakage.

To determine whether or not you have a toilet leak, remove the lid. When you look into the tank, you'll see a hole covered by a rubber lid, known as the flapper valve. When you flush a functional toilet, the handle's motion lifts the flapper valve and lets the water in the tank escape and fill the bowl.

A running toilet occurs when the flapper valve doesn't close all the way and water runs continuously into the bowl. This malfunction usually happens either because the connection between the valve and handle breaks or the valve develops a hole.

But toilets can also develop another kind of leak. The water in your toilet tank should never reach the lid-otherwise, it will overflow. To maintain the correct water level, most tanks have an overflow tube that directs excess water out of the tank. In a functioning tank, the water never comes within 2.5 centimetres (approximately 1 inch) of the overflow tube's opening. If the water level gets higher or continuously runs out of the overflow tube, some part of the mechanism isn't working properly.

Check your toilet periodically to ensure it still runs as it should.

If you notice signs of a leak in these or any other areas of your home, contact a plumbing professional right away. In many cases, proactive maintenance can prevent most major damage. Don't wait until the worst happens-seek professional guidance right away.

As you care for your home, watch for these three notorious leaks.

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