When it comes to minor drips and leaks around the house, you might not think anything of it. You just wipe it up and carry on with your day. However, these little leaks may be the start of a larger problem and could lead to serious water damage.
Warnings such as stains on the ceiling or a leak under your sink can lead to major problems such as rotting floorboards. A burst pipe can damage your furniture and other personal possessions, as well as lead to problems with mold.
Now Burton Heating, A/C, Plumbing and More offers you some friendly advice on how you can check for signs of water damage and what you can do to help prevent it.
What better place to start than the one “room” in your home that’s all about water?
- Showers and Bathtubs: Remove and replace deteriorated or cracked caulk and grout. Water from a broken supply pipe behind the wall can leak through these damaged sealants, causing stains or soft areas around nearby walls and floors. Leaking drainpipes and shower pan leaks are also common sources of water damage. If necessary, contact a plumber or contractor for help.
- Sinks: Check under the sink for leaks from water supply lines or drainpipes. If necessary, contact a plumber or contractor for help.
- Toilets: Clogs can result from too much toilet paper or objects such as hanging bowl deodorants. Also, some chlorine tablet cleaners may corrode internal plastic or rubber parts, leading to a leak. Again, don’t hesitate to call in a professional.
The kitchen is another place with a whole lot of water. Look carefully at your major appliances, and make sure they are up to par.
- The Dishwasher: Periodically check for leaks under the sink where the hose connects to the water supply. Look around the base of the dishwasher for evidence of leaks, such as discolored, warped, or soft flooring materials, or water damage to nearby cabinets.
- The Refrigerator: If your refrigerator has an icemaker, make sure the hose connection is securely attached to the water supply line. Also, a wet spot on the floor may be a sign of a crimped icemaker line about to burst.
- The Sink: Replace deteriorated caulk around sinks, and check the pipes under the sink for leaks. A slow-draining pipe may indicate a partially blocked drain that needs cleaning.
The Basement, Laundry, or Utility Room
Talk about big water consumers!
- Washing Machine: Check hoses regularly for bulging, cracking, fraying, and leaks around hose ends. Replace the hose if a problem is found or at least every 3 to 5 years as part of a proactive maintenance program. To help make sure the hose doesn’t kink, leave at least 4 inches between the water connection and the back of the washing machine. Be sure to read the manufacturer’s installation instructions carefully.
- Water Heater: Most water heaters last 8 to 15 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a leak. Water heaters should be installed on the lowest level of the home, next to a floor drain, or inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.
- Sump Pump: Battery-operated backup sump pumps can help protect against power failure or failure of the primary pump. Test the sump pump before the start of each wet season. Sump pumps are not intended to last more than 10 years and must have some components replaced or serviced within those 10 years.
Since water still may enter your home through overflowing drains or cracks in the foundation walls, make sure items stored in the basement are kept off the floor. Furniture should be on casters or shims and arranged away from floor drains.
Stopping Indoor Leaks
If you spot a leak, the fastest way to stop is to turn off your home’s water supply. Of course, it’s not a permanent fix, but turning off the water in the moment can give you time to repair the specific problem.
Make sure everyone in your household knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Check it frequently for problems, and shut off the water if you are away from your home for several days or longer.
Depending on the severity of your leak, you may be able to fix it with relative ease. Plumbing, though, is a complicated business; if you’re not sure what to do, don’t hesitate to call Burton…now or anytime at all.
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