Typical Denver, one day it’s cold, one day it’s warm. And in preparation for that warmer weather, here’s a warning. Little things start to happen in warmer weather. The problems can be gradual and sneak up on you. And it’s Murphy’s Law, right? When you least expect it, you have 2 inches of water in your home or office! We’ve pretty much seen it all – and we’ve learned from other’s mistakes. We’re happy to pass this information on to you! Can you take a few hours out of your day this weekend, to check on a few things? Take a look.
Small Plumbing Leaks. Do I need to worry?
A drip here, a drop there. Especially when life gets busy, a small plumbing leak can seem easy to contain by wiping up the moisture occasionally or placing a bucket under the sink. But small leaks can add up to big problems over time. For example, did you know that a faucet leaking at the rate of one drop per minute can use 34 additional gallons of water in a year’s time?
The Dangers of Ignoring a Small Leak
Even small leaks should be taken seriously. Slow leaks that continue over time can create a variety of health and safety concerns. Here are just a few:
- Structural damage – water damage from leaky pipes can become expensive. The longer you wait to have leaks repaired, the more damage will occur, and repair costs will increase. Flooring, light fixtures, and other decorative elements will eventually be affected, too.
- Mold and mildew – water damage can cause mold and mildew that can harm you and your family. In addition to the damp, dingy smell, mold spores can cause breathing problems and exacerbate asthma symptoms.
- Burst pipes – winter temperatures are not the only cause of bursting pipes. Over time a continuous trickle can wear away at the pipe, weaken the material, and eventually cause it to burst.
- Wasting water – a toilet with an improperly functioning flushing/filling mechanism can waste thousands of gallons of water each year. Removing the tank lid and temporarily fixing the problem yourself will only work for a limited time.
- Water contamination – a leaky pipe means there is a break somewhere in the plumbing system. Harmful contaminates can enter the system from the outside through pressure differential and infect drinking water.
- Fire risk – plumbing systems are usually in close proximity to electrical systems. A water leak near electrical wiring presents a fire hazard. Additionally, water behind the walls attracts rodents who may be tempted to chew through your wiring.
- Poisonous fumes – a broken drain or sewage pipe may allow sewer and other harmful gases to enter your home, posing a significant health risk. Sewer and drainpipe leaks or breaks must be treated as an emergency and repaired as soon as possible.
How to Recognize a Potential Leak. Sometimes leaking pipes are obvious – you can see (and sometimes hear) the water. But it is also possible to have a leak behind the walls or under the floor that you don’t know about. Look for these telltale signs:
- A sudden drop in water pressure
- Wet or discolored spots on the floor, ceiling, or walls
- An unexplained odor
- The appearance of mold or mildew
- Higher than usual water bill
- Sagging ceilings
- Peeling or blistering paint or wallpaper
- The sound of trickling water or other strange noises in the pipes
If you notice one or more of these signs, call your local plumber for repairs and a general inspection.