Ben Franklin once wrote “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” His observation is particularly true when it comes to your plumbing system. Simple preventative actions can save you thousands of dollars in repairs when you have water leaks. There are three critical areas where water leaks are likely to occur where you and your plumber can make a significant impact with some preventative maintenance.
One of the most common areas of catastrophic water leaks in the home is the washing machine. A small crack in the water hose can rapidly spill gallons of water on the floor, and if you aren’t right on top of the machine when the leak occurs, you may not even notice the problem for several hours. The reason these water leaks are so common is because of the standard rubber or plastic hoses that come with the machine. Normal vibration during the wash cycle eventually causes the hose to fail, and the risk increases dramatically as the hose ages. Replace your standard hose with one that is either steel bracketed or steel reinforced for a more secure connection.
A good water heater is designed to last between 10 and 12 years, while lower priced models generally last two-thirds that amount of time. There are many warning signs that will tell you when your water heater is starting to fail. The most noticeable is when you start to have problems with water temperature. If you see that the hot water does not last as long as it used to, the efficiency of the unit is declining and a failure is imminent. You may also notice a change in the smell or taste of the water. If the water has a metallic taste, call a plumber immediately. Another sign to look out for is noise coming from the unit. Noise is typically caused by excess sediment in the tank, a problem that can be fixed by draining and refilling the unit. To prevent serious water leaks with your water heater, have a professional inspect the unit when you notice any of these common warning signs.
The drainage and sewer lines are the largest lines in your plumbing system, and the most prone to failure. Inside the house water leaks are caused when people in the household put large objects in the pipes that cause an obstruction. Preventing these water leaks is a matter of diligence on the part of your family to ensure large solid waste is kept out of the drain system. The other cause of water leaks in your drain lines occurs when there is a rupture in the line outside the home. These breaks are most often caused by tree roots that have grown into the line over time, and the cracks only get worse once the pipe is weakened. Fortunately, plumbers generally offer low cost or even free drain line inspection services where they send cameras deep into the sewer lines to look for roots and other potential blockages that could cause water leaks. The problem can then be solved with an auger or root killer to keep the issue from getting out of control.
As long as you keep your eyes open for potential problems that lead to water leaks, you will be in a good position to save thousands of dollars on the cost of repairs. If you do notice any water under a faucet or other fixture, be sure to contact your plumber right away before the problem gets any worse.