We often take home plumbing for granted. From a turn of the tap for water to a refreshing shower in the morning, having water in the home is amazing. However, with this power, it can bring issues, such as burst pipes or perhaps, more commonly, water leaks. Water leaks will often start as so small that they are barely noticeable, but they can quickly become costly when it comes to your water bill and its repair.
To save you money, it is essential to detect and be aware of the most common water leaks and how to fix them so that you can protect your home (and bank balance).
How To Detect A Water Leak In Your Home
Before you can fix a water leak, you need to know that you have one to fix. A smart water leak detector such as LeakBot can work wonders at monitoring your home and water usage to detect and alert you to a leak. Furthermore, the LeakBot can even arrange an expert plumber to fix the leak for you, so you have absolutely nothing to worry about.
How to check a water leak in your home
Alternatively, if you want to confirm a water leak in your home, you can check your water usage. If it has gone up significantly without reason, then this could be a leak. You can also take a meter reading and wait two hours ensuring not to use any water and take another meter reading. If your usage has increased, this indicates a leak.
How To Fix The Most Common Water Leaks
How to fix a dripping tap
Perhaps something most homes have encountered is the drip, drip, drip from a tap. This can happen for a variety of reasons such as general wear and tear, a built up of debris or when someone doesn’t turn the tap tight enough. It can even leak if someone overtightens the valve as it can lead to damage to the washer in the tap.
If you have a dripping tap, then it is wise to inspect the tap to determine the cause. Firstly, switch off the water supply through an isolator valve or the stopcock. Then if you feel comfortable to do so, open up the tap and inspect the washer.
You may notice that it has a build-up of debris which you can clean away. Alternatively, the washer may have damage, and it is time for a replacement. Only replace the washer if you feel comfortable to do so. If you don’t, a competent handyman or plumber will be happy to assist.
How to fix a leaky radiator
Another common water leak is through a leaking radiator. A leaking radiator can cause significant damage to your floor, ceiling and even wiring, so it is vital to fix it right away. A water leak in the radiator could be from a number of different causes such as a leaking valve or valve spindle. Alternatively, it may be leaking because of corrosion or pipe coupling.
Most of the fixes for a leaking radiator will require draining the system and refilling it. Furthermore, the components of a radiator are relatively fiddly and can be difficult to master. For a leak in the radiator, determine where you think the leak is coming from, then turn off your water supply and then it is usually best to call a plumber to resolve the issue for you.
How to fix a leaking plastic water pipe joint
If you spot a leak from a plastic/PVC water pipe joint, then the good news is that you may be able to fix the issue yourself. Remember, water can travel a long way before it drips as a leak, so you need to make sure you know exactly which joint the leak is coming from. Start by drying the area thoroughly and working out exactly where the water is coming from and whether it is the pipe or water pipe joint that is leaking.
Once you know the source of the leak, turn off the water for the affected area, or turn off the water at the mains supply if that is easiest.
Then get to work in fixing a leak. If you feel competent, remove and replace the affected section of the pipe. However, this may require cutting tools and equipment you may not have. Alternatively, you can make an easy temporary fix using rubber or silicone repair tape which is quick and easy to use. Repair epoxy can be even easier to use around plastic water pipe joint leaks, and it can mould to fit the shape of the joint.
How to fix a leaking plastic water pipe
If you have a leaking plastic water pipe, then the process is much the same as how to fix a leaking plastic water pipe joint. First make sure you know exactly where the leak is coming from, turn off the water supply and then either replace the affected water pipe or use a quick fix such as tape and epoxy.
Alternatively, for a super quick fix, you can use a rubber and hose clamp to give you some time before you can call a plumber out to make the fix.
How to fix a leaking water pipe underground
Another common water leak in the home is a burst pipe in the garden. Some of the indicators of this will be water coming up in the garden, or a large puddle in the garden when you haven’t had significant rainfall. Due to the difficulty in accessing the leaking water pipe underground, it really is best to call a competent plumber to solve the issue for you.
By using a smart leak detector device in your home, then it can not only detect the leak and warn you through an app-based notification, but it can also organise a plumber to come around and fix it for you. This can be a great cost-effective way that means you avoid the hard work of digging up your garden to determine the depth of the pipe and where the leak is coming from.
How to fix leaking from bottom of toilet
A leaking toilet is probably considered one of the worst leaks in the house due to its unsanitary nature. However, there are often some simple fixes. If you notice a leak at the base or bottom of the toilet after you flush it, then it may be an issue with the Rubber seal on the base of the toilet or the tee bolts that keep your toilet in place.
If you notice a leak from the bottom of a toilet, and you’re sure it’s from the base, then make sure to stop using the toilet. The leaking water will be dirty water from the toilet bowl. You’ll need disinfectant to hand when clearing up from the leak and you do not want to damage the floor or ceiling underneath with unhealthy water.
To fix this type of leak, you need to make sure the toilet is positioned correctly; you have a replacement wax ring and an adjustable wrench so that you can unscrew and tighten bolts. Some people may feel competent in handling this repair themselves. However, if you don’t have the repair tools to hand, then it is often much safer and cost-effective to call out your local plumber to fix the issue.
If it is not the base of the toilet, then leaks can appear from a number of other locations. For example, a crack in the bowl can cause a considerable leak. In this case, the toilet will usually need replacing altogether.
Other leaks may be from damage to the ballcock and float. If this occurs, then water will continue to fill up the cistern and cause an overflow. Similarly, a worn feed line can also mean that water continually enters the tank which can cause a leak and overflow.
How to fix a leaking shower or bath
Whether you have a shower enclosure or bath, there are several aspects that could be leaking, and you need to check. The first thing to check is the seal around the plughole and overflow waste. If the seal is broken, then this can cause an overflow or leak.
Another area to check is the pipes that connect the water supply to the bath taps or shower hose. To detect this leak, you may need to remove the side panel of the bath. For the shower, these potentially leaking pipes may be hidden behind a wall. However, the damage is usually easy to spot through tile lifting. Don’t leave it until it is too late to fix the leaking pipes; they can cause a considerable amount of damage.
Finally, another common bath leak issue is when the silicone seal around the bathtub starts to degrade allowing moisture to seep through. With this in mind, it is important to seal the bath regular to prevent moisture damage around the bath.