Leaks can occur at the water and drain pipes or the main sewer line. A leak in the main sewer line is often easy to detect, as you will usually notice a strong sewage smell in your yard. A faucet that occasionally drips will waste water, but it’s not something you necessarily have to deal with immediately. However, some other common leaks are a more serious problem and/or more difficult to detect, and this guide will take you through the most common types of household leaks, what causes them, and how to know if you need to hire a plumber to fix the problem.

Leaky Water Lines

Water lines can leak due to corrosion, loose connections, or other issues. Fixing a water line that is leaking is most definitely a task you should hire a plumber for as it will be necessary to remove the damaged section of pipe and solder a new piece of pipe in place. Calling a professional plumber should be done immediately to minimize the chances of mold growth and limit the amount of water damage the leak causes.

Most water line leaks are pinhole leaks, so you typically won’t spot them immediately. Instead, you usually won’t notice a leak until you see water spots on the wall or ceiling. A leak may also make the floor feel spongy or soft or cause paint to bubble or wallpaper to peel away from the wall. If the leak remains undetected for very long, you will also typically see mold spots on the drywall or smell a moldy odor. If you do spot any of these signs, you’ll want to call a plumber immediately so they can determine where the leak is and fix it properly.

Toilet Leaks

There are two different types of toilet leaks. One is when water leaks out of the bowl or tank onto the floor, and the other is when water leaks out of the tank into the bowl so the toilet has to run frequently to refill the tank.

If you hear your toilet occasionally run when it hasn’t recently been used, you can check to see if it is leaking by putting a couple of drops of food coloring in the tank when the toilet isn’t running. Let the toilet sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes, and then check to see if the water in the bowl is colored. If the water is colored, it means that the water is leaking out of the tank due to one of a few different issues.

The most common cause of this type of leak is a worn-out toilet flapper, which is the rubber gasket that seals the bottom of the tank and opens to allow water into the bowl every time you flush. A toilet can also leak because the float isn’t properly adjusted, the fill valve is broken, or there is a crack in the overflow tube. Most of these issues can be fixed fairly easily if you’re somewhat handy, but you should definitely hire a plumber if you can’t pinpoint the issue or aren’t exactly sure of what you’re doing. This type of leak may not seem like a very big deal, but it will typically waste nearly 200 gallons of water a day, so fixing the leak will help to keep your water bills from being as high.

A toilet that leaks water out onto the floor is a more serious issue since it can do lots of damage to the flooring and, potentially, the wooden subfloor. For this reason, you’ll want to close the shut-off valve next to the toilet until you can determine why it is leaking and get the issue fixed. There is a chance that either the tank or bowl is cracked, but this is something you should be able to easily spot. If water is pooling around the base of the toilet, it could mean that either the wax ring or toilet flange needs to be replaced. Both of these jobs are definitely something a plumber should do as they involve removing the toilet.

The rubber gaskets on the bolts that connect the tank to the bowl can also wear out over time so that water starts seeping out through the holes. In this case, the tank will need to be fully drained, and then the bolts will need to be replaced. This should also be done by a plumber, as you could easily overtighten the bolts and crack the porcelain, causing a much bigger leak.

Leaky Drain Pipes

Another common issue is when the drain pipe underneath a sink starts leaking. The drain flange sticks down through the hole in the sink and then connects to a bent pipe known as a P-trap, which in turn connects to the main drain pipe. If water starts leaking out around the drain, it typically means that either one of the pipe connections is loose or that the fitting where the flange connects to the P-trap has corroded and broken.

You can check to see if either of the connections on the P-trap are loose by first trying to tighten them by hand and then giving them a half-turn with a pair of pliers. If the connections were loose, this should stop the pipe from leaking. If the fitting between the flange and the P-trap is broken, you’re typically better to have a plumber replace it to ensure everything is installed properly and prevent future leaks. The P-trap is also constantly full of water, and this water can be extremely nasty, so removing the trap may not be something you want to ever do yourself. In some cases, it may be necessary for the plumber to replace the entire drain.

Underground Slab Leaks

Most homes in Florida are built on a concrete slab foundation instead of having a crawlspace or basement. The fact that the coastal and inland areas in our state tend to have a high water table means that basements or crawlspaces are much more prone to flooding, which isn’t an issue if the home has a concrete slab foundation. The issue with slab foundations is that it means most of the water lines and the drain lines for the sewer system are buried under a thick layer of concrete. This fact not only makes leaks much harder to detect and repair but also makes the water and drain lines more prone to leaking due to both corrosion and friction.

A slab leak can be a serious issue as the water can undercut the foundation and cause the home to settle and possibly suffer major structural damage. Minor slab leaks can be extremely difficult to detect and may go unnoticed for months or even years in some cases. A leak in a water line will cause your water bill to rise, but a leak in a drain line may remain undetected unless you have all of the pipes inspected with a camera.

Things to watch out for that can signal your home has a slab leak include the sound of water running or dripping underneath your floor, cracks in the walls caused by the foundation shifting or settling, and abnormally high water bills. If a hot water pipe is leaking, you may also notice that one part of the floor feels warmer than the surrounding areas. If you suspect your home has a slab leak, you need to enlist the help of a plumber as soon as possible so you can get the leak repaired before it causes serious damage.

If you’re dealing with any type of leak in your home, you can trust the experts at Paradise Home Services to repair the problem quickly. We offer professional plumbing repairs, leak detection, inspections, and installation services, as well as a full range of air conditioning and heating services to customers throughout the Navarre and Panama City Beach area. If you have a leak you need repaired or require any other plumbing or HVAC service, give us a call today to get the professional help you need.

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