5 easy ways to detect a leaky pipe

Jun 04 , 2014
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Eventually, every Santa Monica homeowner encounters a leaky pipe at home.  From the swanky new houses near Main Street, to the classic residential buildings around SMC, no one is safe from this plumbing headache.  In more extreme cases, a leak can cause havoc in your home through floods and even explosions of water.  But typically they manifest themselves in smaller, less destructive ways.

To spot them before they become major ordeals, here’s how to check your home’s fixtures and appliances.

Hissing

One of the most tell-tale signs of a leaky pipe is the sound of hissing.  You won’t be able to see spewing water because it’ll be located behind the wall, but you will most likely be able to hear the sound of it.  And this doesn’t just apply to normal in-wall piping.  For example, a faulty water heater may give itself away through a sudden, large puddle on the ground.  However, if you don’t see this, but still suspect a leak, listen for hissing from the connecting lines.

Toilets

Toilets are one of the most common sources of leaks found in the home.  If you suspect that it’s draining but can’t see where it’s coming from, try adding some food coloring the bowl.  Add a few drops and wait five minutes.  If the coloring remains, then you’ve found your leak.  The flapper at the bottom of the tank is allowing water to seep through.

If you’re not sure how to proceed at this point, or if you still can’t locate the problem, it’s time to contact a professional.  For the best water leak detection Santa Monica has to offer, call Hammer Plumbing and Drain.  Using years of experience as well as other sophisticated tools, we’ll locate and repair your leaky pipe.

Hot water heaters

You may first sense a leak in your hot water tank if you experience a decrease in water pressure, or more obviously, a cooling of water over time.  Barring any clear signs at the heater itself, first check the pressure relief valve.  Does there appear to be any dampness around it?  Any wet spots along the unit?  If you’re not sure, try removing the valve to see if any water has been collecting.

Bathtubs

Bathtubs may be the easiest to check for a leak.  Simply use a professional test plug and fill it up.  After an hour, if the water level has decreased, you know you have a problem.  To fix it, try replacing the flange and applying caulk.  Getting a new rubber gasket for the drain hole is also a good idea.  You’ll prevent water stains on the ceiling below, as well as the loosening of tiles near the tub.

Sinks 

Puddles of water under the sink can be a pain, but luckily they’re pretty easy to fix.  To identify the part of the pipe that’s leaking, apply a dry tissue or cloth to its different parts.  When you hit the wet one, that’s where you start.  If the culprit is a valve or shutoff valve, you should tighten the nut.

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