While it’s absolutely true that some water leaks in your home will be immediately visible, it’s critical to remember that this isn’t always the case. Some leaks start slowly and build over time, to the point where by the time you realize you have a problem an incredible amount of damage has already been done.
However, you shouldn’t panic. There are a number of simple techniques for leak detection that you can use today to give you the peace-of-mind that only comes with knowing that there are no problems within your own home.
Check That Water Meter
By far, the best way to tell whether or not you’re dealing with a water leak in your home involves checking the water meter to see what you can learn. But first, you’ll want ot shut off ALL the water in your home – meaning all faucets, and especially appliances like the dishwasher or washing machine.
Once you’re certain that everything is off, head to the water meter and see if it starts to change. If it does, you have a leak on your hands. Even if it doesn’t, wait an hour or two and check again. If the meter only changes a little bit, you may have a slower leak somewhere inside your home – which is still a serious problem that you should not take lightly.
Examine Your Water Usage
Along the same lines, log into your utility provider’s website and see how much water you’re using on a monthly basis. According to one recent study, each person uses somewhere between 80 to 100 gallons of water per day for various purposes. This works out to be around 2400 gallons per person per month, give or take a few hundred gallons or so.
If you find that your usage is significantly higher than this, it’s very likely that you have a water leak somewhere in your home and your next step should involve contacting a local plumber to help you get to the bottom of things.
Keep an Eye on That Bill
Another great way to find out if you have a water leak in your home also involves your utility provider’s website – or at the very least, your last few billing statements.
If you’re confident that your water usage habits haven’t changed, get out your past three or four water bills and compare the total balances. Typically, each bill should fall within the same basic range. If you notice that there has been a modest but steady increase in the amount due every month, it could easily be because of a water leak that may very well need professional attention.
Break Out the Food Coloring
A lot of people don’t realize that toilets account for a significant portion of your water use every month – up to about 30% by some estimates. Therefore, it’s in your own best interest to verify that yours are working properly on a regular basis – and food coloring can help you do exactly that.
For the best results, add just a few drops of food coloring to the water tank on your toilet and wait about 10 or so minutes. If that food coloring eventually shows up in the toilet bowl, it likely means that there is a leak allowing water to flow from the tank to the drain – even if you don’t flush the toilet itself.
Infrared Technology to the Rescue
Finally, if you happen to have access to an infrared camera, take it around your home and use it to examine the walls. If there are any leaks within the walls themselves, they’ll show up on camera because the wet areas will be colder than all other surfaces – thus making them visible. If you don’t have an infrared camera of your own, don’t worry – our plumbers will likely bring one with them so that they can see exactly what they’re dealing with.
In the end, it’s important to remember that a water leak in your home is serious business – to the point where if you’ve used any of the techniques above to detect one, this is absolutely not an issue you want to tackle alone. At this point, it’s best to leave the work that comes next to the professionals who know what they’re doing. It’s the best way to successfully tackle a small issue today before it has a chance to become a much bigger (and infinitely more expensive) one down the road.
If you’d like to find out more information about how to detect water leaks in your home, or if you have any additional questions that you’d like to go over with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact us today.