Preventative maintenance will keep you from having to pay as much money for repairs in your home. A leaking pipe can cause serious problems, especially if you don’t know about the leak right away. The hidden leak can cause mold, damage structural materials, and even flood your home.
Here are a few things you can do to stay on top of leaking pipes and handle the problem before it even occurs. If you apply these home maintenance steps, you can be proactive in catching leaks before they happen.
Check the Pipes Regularly
It’s wise to have a home inspection done every so often, either on your own if you are capable or through a professional who knows what to look for. This is especially important if your home is 30 years or older, since problems may crop up more quickly with older parts installed.
You will want to inspect (or have a professional inspect) the pipes all throughout the house, including the ones that are out of sight. They will need to check the walls to see if there are signs of leakage behind the paneling. They should also check outside the house for any indication of leaking pipes out there. Even an outside leak can cause problems inside the house, since water can seep down into places it isn’t supposed to be. Of course, any kind of leak can reduce your water pressure and make it difficult to wash dishes, take a shower, or do laundry. And leaks will increase your water bill as well, so be sure to check all pipes inside and outside when inspecting the house.
Check for Mold
You may see the results of a leak before you actually see the leak. That’s often the case when pipes are hidden behind the wall. You can tell that there is a leak sometimes because of pooling water or mold. If water is collecting in a cool, dark place, it may quickly grow mold, thanks to the mold spores that travel throughout the house and that look for an opportunity to start growing. You cannot see these spores because they are so small, but you can detect the mold growth as it starts.
Mold can be black, green, or white, in most cases, and it will have a musty smell. It feeds on biological material, like wood or paper, and it requires a water source to thrive. Anytime there is a leak for a period of several days, there is likely to be some mold growth. You should be checking for mold and having professional cleaning services to give help in checking for it as well. Don’t just clean up the mold, but also look for indications that the mold may have been caused by a leak.
Keep Fittings and Joints Secure
One of the best ways to prevent leaks so that they do not happen is to ensure that you tighten pipe fittings and seal pipe joints regularly. As you check your pipes for any signs of leaks or damage, just take the time to check how tight the fittings are. Turn them a little tighter and pay attention to whether they feel loose or not.
The joints in your pipes may need some extra sealant from time to time. As you check the pipes, look at the sealant on the joints and see if it looks corroded or moist. You may need to apply more sealant or even take off the existing sealant and repair the pipe if there is some problem. The joints are often weak points in the pipes, so checking these specific areas will help you to stay ahead of many potential leaks.
Once again, if you don’t feel competent to handle this kind of inspection, leave it up to a professional. That way, you won’t be taking chances with leaks and the security of your water pipes.
Check the Water Pressure
We said earlier that low water pressure can be an indicator that there is a leak somewhere on your line. It is wise to check the pressure every so often to see if there are any problems. Measuring the water pressure is a great preventative measure to take and can often indicate problems much more easily than other methods. Look for a PSI of 60 on your lines, and you want to ensure that the water pressure stays under that number. If it passes 60 PSI, then you have too much pressure going through the pipes. That can cause stress on the pipes and create leaks, so look out for that. If the pressure falls below 30, then there could be a leak due indicated by water loss.
Insulate Your Pipes
Do you live somewhere that gets really cold in the wintertime or where you see frost on the ground in the morning? If so, then your pipes could freeze periodically, and that can stress the pipes and make them weaken. Sudden changes in water temperature can create microscopic cracks in the pipes that make them leak over time. Changes in mass and pressure can cause the pipes to burst as well, so if the pipes fill with ice, they may expand beyond their ability to stay structurally sound.
If you insulate the pipes, that will protect them from freezing and help the pipes to stay intact. You can also prevent freezing by draining outside pipes and hoses of water after use. If you know the temperature is expected to get really cold, take these preventative measures to protect your pipes and hoses.
Leaking pipes are a part of life for all of us, but you can get out in front of the problem and prevent most leaks simply by taking precautions. Use the tips we have given you here to find issues with your pipes before they turn into leaks and to strengthen your pipes so that leaks do not occur. You will save yourself a lot of money and stress if you do that.