How to Find and Fix a Leaky Pipe

Diagnosing a leaky pipe

Every season poses unique challenges for an effective plumbing network. While a number of people associate leaky pipes with cold weather, heat is its own issue. There is little risk of a frozen line, but it is a good idea to check for other impediments. Over the spring and summer, you are more likely to entertain friends and family. This means that your piping is under a lot more stress. It may mean a sprinkler or a hose if not more flushes. A pool is a lot more spacious than a toilet bowl.

As you attempt to diagnose a leaky pipe, it is useful to understand a few things:

  • You don’t need to be an expert to meaningfully curb the damage. Even if you are unable to repair the malfunction, you are still in a position to cut a few of your losses.
  • If you do nothing, you risk compromising other features of the residence, from the structural integrity to more specific elements like outlets and other electrical implements.
  • A leaky pipe can eventually lead to more environmental hazards, including mold. It is important to remain apprised of the possibilities because the most effective deterrent is prevention.

Old buildings and new leaky pipes

If you are aware of living in a home that is more than 50 years old, you’re going to want to keep an eye out for leaks. Puddles and rust are indicators of a degraded infrastructure. Your piping may no longer be under warranty––it’s worth inquiring about it with the manufacturer. 

How to Find a Leaky Pipe

If you are able to recognize a soggy stain on any surface, it may indicate a deterioration. Malformation and discoloration are other expressions of a leak.  In the event you suspect a bigger problem than you see, it is a good idea to call a plumber.

What you can do and what you shouldn’t do with a leaky pipe

In addition to visible and tactile moisture, you may pick up a scent. If it smells of mildew, it is likely mildew. The scent is especially telling if it is a general one and not specific to an area. One way to test leaks is using food coloring. In the case of a toilet, use 10 or so drops in the tank and see whether it shows up in the bowl. If the assessment strains your expertise, leave it for a qualified professional. It is also worth considering how dripping isn’t always a sure sign of a leak, but a pipe that leaks in one area often does the same in others.

How to Fix a Leaky Pipe

Here are few options for how to fix a leaky pipe or at least curb damage until a plumber arrives.  

  • Turn off the water valve of the pipe and empty any faucets that may have residual water.
  • Dry it off using a cloth and apply plumbing epoxy on the crack.
  • Cover the area entirely using a rubber layer and a clamp. After it is entirely covered, allow the layer to set and then apply electrical tape. To ensure this process is a success, flip the valve back on and note whether any more water emerges. As in many areas of life, you can also use duct tape if needed.

A leak can’t always be measured in terms of what you see

Be aware that a pipe can be damaged in a lot of ways. Some times you won’t see until the damage is done; for example, prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in a crack or outright failure. Furthermore, some of the apparent damage isn’t always what it appears to be: a pipe may look like it is leaking even though it is merely sweating through condensation. It is good to be up to date on your pipeline so that when the time comes to fill your pool you don’t already have one in your basement.

Nothing lasts forever and it is especially true of a pipe that has been around the block or is laid there. If you live in an older home, it is a matter of time until a leak is sprung or a less obvious problem emerges. No matter how attentive you are, you will probably need to replace a pipe eventually. When the time comes, we are happy to help. Henry Plumbing 912-352-9827

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