What to Do When You Have a Leaking Pipe
Significant water damage from leaky pipes is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Knowing how to prevent plumbing issues, assess and fix minor ones, and turn to the professionals when appropriate are all key elements of keeping your plumbing ecosystem safe.
In this handy guide to leaking pipe protocol, we’ll show you how to keep your home and property safe in a step-by-step manner. Read on to become a master of home plumbing protection.
What Causes a Leaking Drain Pipe?
There are a multitude of common household plumbing issues that cause a leaky drain pipe. Finding the source is going to be the most practical way to stop it, so look for disruptors such as:
- Clogs: Clogs in pipes will cause water to back up inside the drain. Standing water can eventually cause a leakage as the caulking or seals in threaded pipe joints will degrade.
- High Water Pressure: Excessive or uneven water pressure can put serious strain on your pipes. If you are exceeding the level of water pressure recommended, adjust down or consult a plumbing professional about how to do so.
- Loose or Worn Connectors: The connectors in hoses and pipes supply appliances with water, and are a primary source of leaks. Compression nuts, or water connectors to washer/dryers very commonly move during spin cycles, causing leaks.
- Foundation Shifts: If your house moves, it can cause damage to pipe joints. In turn, this will cause deterioration and leaks. This is a slow-moving cause typically, so a licensed plumber might be necessary to identify it early.
- Corrosion: If your pipes are affected by chemical or bio matter, they can corrode easier over time. Additionally, some older pipes will be subject to corrosion based on their material composition and location, and regardless of the reason, a corroded pipe will leak.
- Change in Temperature: As seasonal temperatures rise and fall, your pipes will expand and contract. Unfortunately, this often leads to breakages and leaks, so if you are in a climate that fluctuates rapidly or often, make sure to pay attention to the condition of your pipes seasonally.
- Poorly Fitting Pipes: Whether it is over-tight fittings, shoddy installation, or exposure to the elements, poorly fit pipes will leak quickly and cause long-term damage if not treated.
Ultimately, having a working knowledge of the common problems that cause leaks will be beneficial for you as a homeowner. However, in most cases, we recommend routine inspections by a qualified professional who will know to look for advanced symptoms of plumbing damage before they present by leaking.
What is the first thing you should do when you find/suspect a leak?
Put frankly, the first thing you should do when you find a leak is contact a plumbing professional. However, we also recommend that you know the fundamentals of identifying and fixing a leak should you choose the DIY route.
1) Shut off Your Water and Clean Your Drains: This is the first and most critical step in dealing with clogged or leaky drains. You need to know where your water shut-off is, and which drains can be cleaned easily. In fact, we recommend doing this as part of a yearly homeowner checklist.
2) Assess the Situation: Figure out where the leak has originated, and understand what type of pipe/materials it will require.
3) Check the Nut: A loose nut can be a primary source of a leak. Try tightening first by gripping the body of the tap with pliers and then using a spanner to turn the nut clockwise. Often, this will solve minor leaks.
4) Inspect the drain for damage: The next step is to see if your drains are compromised in any way. Clogged drain lines in sinks, bathtubs, showers, or even air conditioning units can be a primary source of leaking.
5) Apply Plumber’s Tape and Plumber’s Putty: If the damage is not significant, you can mend a pipe or drain with either plumber’s tape, putty or both. Make sure that the water is off when you go to apply these items, and use proper silicone tape or pipe thread tape. By the time you are at this point, we recommend consulting a professional unless you have significant DIY experience with your specific plumbing system.
6) Reassemble: Given that a cause of leaking pipes is uneven or compromised assembly in the first place, making sure to put everything back together tightly and correctly is paramount. Make sure that all threading is locked correctly and that the pipes are not sitting in a way that will be compromised when water runs through them.
In general, we do not recommend fixing leaks without having a plumber assess them. Though there can be easy DIY fixes, trying to fix a leak under the sink can lead to a whole new slew of plumbing problems.
Pros and Cons of DIY pipe repair
As we’ve gone over, it is doable to fix small plumbing problems on your own. It is certainly gratifying to do your own work and have it succeed, which can save you money.
However, the downsides usually far outweigh that feeling of satisfaction and a few dollars spent. Even while ‘saving’ money, you are spending your time and jeopardizing your health if some of these fixes aren’t as quick and easy as you’d like.
Additionally, there are real hazards to your property if the fix does not go correctly. Additional leaks in pipes can cause water damage, electrical fires, mold, or more plumbing problems on top of your initial issue.
Thus, when we recommend consulting licensed plumbing professionals, it’s so that you have a guarantee of top-notch service with a warranty on it in case something goes wrong. The level of service, peace of mind, and overall home health considerations are well-worth the expenditure in our experience. This is why we wrote this piece – so you can learn more about how to know when you need professional plumbing services.
Don’t Risk Further Plumbing Damage, Contact Deer Valley Plumbing Today
When facing a plumbing leak, every second counts towards keeping your health and property safe. Deer Valley Plumbing has decades of experience in assessing, fixing, and preventing further damage from leaks. We know that the time, money, and stress we can save you will be evident in our outstanding work.
If you have leaky pipes, please reach out to us immediately for qualified professional plumbing services. Taking action and getting proper help is the best next step for your household.
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