Even conscientious homeowners who clean out their gutters on a regular basis don't always take the best care of their plumbing until water damage has already occurred. You can greatly reduce your chances of having this problem if you educate yourself on potential plumbing problems and schedule regular maintenance.
This includes both professional checkups and home maintenance for the things any homeowner can keep an eye on. Here are four common ways plumbing can cause unnoticed leaks that surprise you later with their damaging effects.
1. Water Heater Leak
Your water heater has a high water intake and output on a daily basis. But you don't open the closet door or run down to the basement to check on your water heater every time you want hot water. So water heater problems can sometimes go unnoticed until they've already done some damage.
Common water heater problems that can cause a leak all over your floor include a faulty temperature or pressure relief valve, a leaky drain valve, a loose pipe connection, or even a rusted tank.
2. Under-Sink Leak
A dripping drain or a poor seal between pipe sections can cause leaks under your sink. Sometimes the drip will start out so slowly that it's always dried up before the next time you open the cupboard doors. But the dampness can still cause water damage to wood, allow mold to grow, and damage whatever you store under the sink.
To catch one of these sneaky leaks, try taking everything out from under the sink so you can access the pipes better. Then turn the water on and start wiping the pipes down with a facial tissue, checking it frequently for wet spots.
You can also try placing a humidity monitor under the sink to check for a humidity problem. You may need a moisture absorber in the cupboard even if you don't have an actual drip. Condensation and stagnant air can raise the humidity and encourage mold growth.
3. Slab Leak
A slab leak isn't actually a leaking slab — it's a leaking pipe beneath a slab foundation. The leak can come from either the water supply pipe or the main sewer line. Because concrete is porous, moisture can often seep through from the leaking pipe, but often not enough to notice at first — just enough to make your basement very humid and maybe cause a mold problem.
Unfortunately, this type of leak can also cause extreme water damage to your foundation. The escaping water can erode the ground beneath your slab, causing your house to tilt or settle oddly.
4. Sump Pump Malfunction
Even if you don't have a slab leak, water is likely to enter your basement by seeping through cracks or directly through concrete walls, depending on how wet the ground around your home is. A sump pump can help you manage this moisture by draining the channel that collects moisture on the inside of the basement wall.
However, you may not check on your sump pump every day, especially if it's not in a finished part of the basement. And if something goes wrong with the pump, nothing protects your home from all that groundwater.
Common sump pump failures include a burned-out motor, a clogged intake or discharge line, and switch problems. In some cases, the pump could still run but not actually pump the water out of your basement. To avoid water damage from a malfunctioning sump pump, put home maintenance in your schedule and service the pump regularly.
These are just four examples of how sneaky plumbing leaks can cause damage to your home. Be sure to perform a home inspection of all your easily accessible plumbing components on a regular basis, have a plumbing inspection by a professional every couple of years, and keep an eye out for anything unusual that could indicate a slab leak or other sneaky problem.
Whether you want a professional to inspect your plumbing or whether you need repairs, give ABC Drain & Plumbing a call today and let us know what you're looking for.