Real Estate

Guide to Detecting and Fixing Pipe Leaks

Water leaks are a common occurrence in homes, regardless of the amount of maintenance done. It is crucial to promptly address any leaks before they lead to expensive damage or increased water expenses.

To do that, start with your water meter. This will let you know if your house has a fast-moving or underground leak.

Check Your Water Meter

One of the simplest ways to check for a leak is to look at your water meter. Ensure no water is used inside or outside the house, then read the meter and note the number. Come back in an hour and compare the numbers — if the reading has changed, you leak somewhere.

Find your home’s main shutoff valve, typically in a basement or utility room, and close it. Then, shine a light on the meter’s flow indicator (usually a triangular dial or sweeping hand) to see if it is moving. Each complete revolution of the meter’s register sweep hand represents a hundred cubic feet, or 748 gallons, of water that has passed through the meter.

Turn Off the Water

The first step in finding and fixing a leak is to shut off the water supply. This is typically done by turning off the main valve for your home.

Damp spots on walls, floors, and ceilings can indicate the presence of a leaky pipe. Look for damp patches, especially around areas where two different materials meet, such as tile and drywall.

Sometimes, you must shut off your home’s water supply, whether for a pipe leak repair Jacksonville FL or before leaving on vacation. Knowing where your home’s water valve is located and how to turn it off can save you time, money, and headache.

If you notice that your monthly water bill is higher than usual, or if the dial on your water meter starts moving even though you haven’t used any extra water, there could be a leak somewhere in your system. Start by turning off all faucets in your home, then recheck the meter. If the meter still changes, there is a leak somewhere in your house. A plumber will need to come in to fix this.

Look for Signs of Water Damage

In addition to water stains on walls and ceilings, pay special attention to cabinets under sinks and any areas of your home where water-using appliances are located. Any discoloration or softness can indicate a leak in pipes that run under or behind those surfaces.

Look for sagging, warped floorboards, and bubbling or cracking paint. These can be signs of a hidden leak that could quickly lead to significant damage if not caught and fixed.

If you can’t find any apparent problems, try using a moisture detector (plumbers carry these in their tool kits) or an infrared camera to detect the presence of water in your walls or ceilings. These devices can also help identify the source of the problem by indicating which direction the water is flowing.

Check Your Water Pressure

If the water pressure in your home is low, it might be a sign of a leak. You can check this by shutting off all the faucets in your house and reading your water meter. 

Testing it with a pressure gauge is another simple way to check your water pressure. Just turn off all the taps and hose bibs, open an outdoor faucet, and attach the gauge. The needle should read your home’s water pressure – around 40 to 60 pounds per square inch (PSI). If the reading is lower, there’s a leak.

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