Five Surprising Causes of Plumbing Leaks
I bet that most of us have faced a drastic leak at one time or another. There’s nothing worse than coming home to a flooded house or waking up in the morning and stepping onto a gushy carpet or a floor covered in water.
(Once, I stepped into the kitchen early one morning only to have my toes splash into about an inch of water. Somehow or other, the line running to my icemaker had spring a leak and spewed water all night long.)
Household leaks are no fun…at least not for the homeowner!
If you’ve ever wondered how pipes suddenly spring leaks, even though you never abuse them, here’s your answer.
Think of the human body. Joints age and become arthritic. Skin gets wrinkled after years of exposure to the weather. Eyes get cataracts and hair gets gray. All of that is part of the aging process, and NOTHING is immune to the effects of wear and tear.
The pipes used in your plumbing system are no exception. (In fact, pipes over 30 years old are much more prone to leaks.)
Over time, pipes can form corrosion. You might notice a bluish-green stain if you have copper pipes. (Think of it as an age spot.) You may notice a PEX pipe is warped. (Think of it as an aging joint.)
Corrosion can be caused by numerous factors:
- A high level of oxygen in your water
- Sediment in your water
- A low pH factor of your water (acidic with a score of lower than 8 on the pH scale).
- Incorrect grounding of your electrical system that sends a stray current into the water
Sometimes your pipes leak because the seals around them have rotten, cracked, or broken.
Sticking to the age analogy, it’s like broken capillaries or vericose veins.
Your toilets have seals around the bottom of them. Your dishwasher has a seal around the door. Your pipes have plumbing tape wrapped around their joints.
Nothing lasts forever, and even good seals can wear out, surprising you with unexpected leaks, wet spots, and water accidents.
If you notice any condensation or sweating on the pipes, or, Heaven forbid, an embarrassing puddle underneath an appliance or fixture, there’s a chance that your seals need to be replaced.
Too Much Water Pressure:
Most homeowners probably have no idea of the amount of water pressure coming into their homes. Water pressure is measured by psi…pounds per square inch. The typical amount of water pressure is between 60-70 psi.
If you have too much water pressure, you might be damaging your pipes. Rushing water can put pressure on joints and seals. If you have a system with copper pipes, you probably have more elbow joints and sharp-angle turns. Pushing high-pressure water through those curves weakens the system.
Have your joints ever creaked and cracked when you move too quickly? Yep. Well, if you hear s banging or clanging when you turn the water on, you might have too much water pressure rushing through those old pipes.
Tree roots can wreak havoc on underground pipes outside of your home. You may not have a leak inside, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem.
Tree roots can wrap around pipes, causing them to break or crack. Problems with outside, underground pipes can create a lack of water, a drop in water pressure, slow drains, or back-ups.
A trained, professional plumber from ServiceOne can use a camera to help determine where the leak is and fix the problem immediately.
But trees aren’t the only cause of plumbing leaks.
If your area has flooded or suffered an earthquake or a tremor, your pipes may have shifted, causing broken connections or cracks.
Every house settles a little. As long as the settling doesn’t affect the structure of the foundation, there is no problem.
In Florida, because of the low ground water table, the sandy nature of the soil, and the extreme heat which causes expansion, settling can cause foundation problems which, in turn, can affect the pipes and plumbing in a home.
How to Avoid Sudden Leaks:
You are good to your pipes. You never beat on the, shove things against them, or assault them in any manner, but even good treatment can’t prevent the aging of a good system and changes due to routine wear and tear.
Call us to get your plumbing inspected to prevent major problems in the future.
Think of it as an annual physical to keep things running smoothly.
During the month of June, ServiceOne is offering a $49 plumbing and plumbing safety inspection.