We tend to laugh at the people on television as they ignore a leak and flood the whole house, or try to fix it themselves and end up doing more harm than the initial leak could ever cause. It is funny on the show, but very serious in real life. Leaks are indicators that there is a problem, and sometimes you do not get a lot of warning.
Recognizing that there is a problem is half the battle.
- Do you have unexplained increases and/or fluctuations in your water usage or bill?
- Do you see mold or mildew periodically?
- Do you see buckled or moist, peeling paint?
- Is there discoloration on walls, floors or ceilings that was not there before?
- Do you sometimes smell mold or mildew?
All of these occurrences could be warning signs of a disaster to come.
Leaks, no matter how small you think they are, should be located and fixed as soon as possible. You may not see any harm because you are not trained to look for specific signs. Slow leaks are easily ignored but can cause big problems. Insulation can soak up the extra moisture and breed mold and mildew that may be undetectable for months.
Leaks can cause mold and mildew to form, further causing structural damage and health problems for you, your family and your pets. Sometimes you may not even see these leaks, but rather just hear them through the walls or notice dampness from an unidentifiable source. Your entire home should be inspected on a regular basis, and the plumbing should be a large part of it. Remember, prevention is easier and less expensive than repair.
Do not be content with the quick fix!
Some people choose to place a receptacle under the leak or simply tape the leak and think that solves the problem. You end up adapting your behavior to the leak instead of taking care of it. In reality, now the leak and the standing water are a problem. People also have a tendency to ignore the little leak because it is not causing an immediate emergency or obvious water damage; but then they may end up with an expensive mess. That pesky drip that will not stop or that toilet that runs more and more often needs to be taken care of before it develops into something much, much worse.
People tend to ignore leaks from appliances, as well. Water damage could be building behind a wall until the entire wall or ceiling collapses. Do not let a minor repair turn into a major problem. If you cannot find it or fix it, then hire someone who can.
When should you inspect your pipes and faucets?
Do you know when your home was built, and if the plumbing has ever been inspected or replaced since then? If you answered no to these questions, then you should have it inspected as soon as possible. If you do not suspect a leak, have your plumbing examined when you perform major cleaning, like you do in the spring and the fall. In a lot of cases, once water begins to leak, it is already a problem. At John Baethke and Son, we have very reasonably
priced house plumbing inspections that can even include your water
heaters annual maintenance.