Catching and preventing leaks before they cause you a headache or even costly damage really comes down to taking the time to check your whole residential plumbing system. We know that time is in short supply and life is busy, so we have broken it down to a 4 step checklist. Tackle this short list and you will rest easy knowing that you may have just prevented a leak!
Preventing Leaks Checklist
Step 1: Do you have shut off valves?
Check your main water supply line, kitchen and bathroom sinks. Make sure your main water supply valve is able to turn, is updated and not corroded. Finding out in an emergency situation that you cannot turn your water off is the worst way to find out! Next place to have valves is under your kitchen and bathroom sinks. This makes it easier to isolate the problem area, meaning you can continue to use your kitchen sink even if you have to turn the valves off at the bathroom sink. If you already have valves in these places check to ensure they are working correctly and preventing leaks in these locations.
Step 2: What is your water like?
We all love to take a shower with great pressure but if the force is too much, over time it will cause extra stress on your pipes and joints. Have a professional evaluate the pressure and correct it to prevent future leaks from stress. In the opposite direction, if your water pressure is really low, you could have a more serious issue of a blockage somewhere in the line. If this is the case, get a professional to camera inspect your line to see what is really going on.
Step 3: How are your appliance and fixtures doing?
Inspect both the top and underside of your faucets to see any visible leaks. Watch for leaks around the base of your toilet when you flush. If you notice a leak, most often it is the gasket between the tank and the bowl that needs tightening or replacing and sometimes the wax ring around the toilet base. If you feel handy these can be simple fixes, if not call a professional. Lastly, appliances with plumbing parts like dishwashers are famous for malfunctions that cause leaks. Look for any loose or kinked hosing to ensure you are preventing leaks.
Step 4: Have you looked below the ground?
Of course not! But what about in your basement? Look for older pipes and joints made of lead, iron or copper that may be corroding or look rusty. Consider replacing older sections and insulating good parts that connect to the outdoors. This will help prevent freezing and thawing, preventing leaks and even a burst pipe! Furthermore, check your main drain line. Although this doesn’t necessarily leak is can be backed up or clogged which can lead to major flooding. Consider installing a backflow valve which will prevent any sewage from backing up into your home.