Water Leaks – Common Causes
As you may have seen previously, we have written a few other useful and informative articles, guides and provided free tools about water leaks, what causes them and how to spot them, here are a few of the key ones:
- Signs of a Water Leak – giving the top 10 things to look out for
- How to Find a Water Leak – a step by step guide
- Water Leak Repair Benefits – why it is good to get them fixed
- Causes of Water Leak – the top 10 types of water leak
As experts in the in leak detection we understand where water leaks can be found but also, as a result of that, what causes them (that last article above) and therefore, what you might be able to do to help prevent or avoid water leaks in your home or business. After all, prevention is better than cure!
Let’s look at that next in some more useful additional detail.
Preventing Water Leaks
First things first, there’s nothing on this list that 100% guarantees you won’t get water leaks in your home or business. However, they can help to reduce the risk, or at the very least reduce the impact of a water leak if you are unlucky enough to have one at your property.
As you might expect, in order to understand how to prevent water leaks, a good place to start is to see the most common water leaks that occur, as detailed in that final article we listed abvove.
A shortened version of that list if you don’t want to read the full article:
- Frozen Water Pipes – expansion of ice causing breakages
- Cold Water Tank Failure – various possible causes within that
- Corroded or Cracked Pipes – decay over time, weakening pipes
- Broken Pipe Connections – weak or broken pipes at joints
- Seals or Cracks around Baths Showers – leaking when used
- Central Heating Leaks – leaks in heating pipes and connections
- Broken Waste Pipes – from toilet leaks, baths, sinks etc.
- Expansion from Heat – movement / expansion causing breakage
- High Water Pressure – putting stress on pipes and connections
- Storm / Weather Damage – letting water in or breaking things
So with that in mind, let’s now go through 5 things you can do to help prevent water leaks.
1 – Quality Materials and Workmanship
This is rightly the number one thing on the list of things you can do to prevent leaks. The combination of good workmanship and quality materials can make a huge difference. Unfortunately, we get a lot of people who have plumbing leaks at their property caused (or at least contributed to) by sub-par workmanship and that’s not always from professionals, it can come from mistakes made by amateurs / DIY workmanship too. Good quality things last longer and break less often and could help massively reduce the likelihood of getting water leaks in your home.
A plumber once said to us that “plumbers and builders spend their lives keeping water out or keeping water in”. There’s a reason that insurance companies call water leaks “Escapes of Water”, where water has come out of where it is meant to be contained! (a pipe or a tank). On that, see our useful guide on why water leak specialists like us are even used by local plumbers to find water leaks.
2 – Regular Inspections and Checks
Whether this is something that you do yourself or get a professional to do, this can bear fruit in the long term and help to spot things which, if left, could result in water leaks in your home or business. There are lots of things that this could cover but checking some of the following are examples of things that can help:
- Getting your boiler checked and serviced regularly – by a Gas Safe engineer
- Making sure your you don’t have a leaking combi boiler
- When you are doing other work – such as having a new bathroom or kitchen fitted
- Further to the previous point, especially if you expose areas you would not normally see
- When you are using things – for example, a stop tap (more on that later)
- When you are in higher risk rooms – when in the loft quickly check for loft tank leaks
We do offer a service where we do a water leak inspection in people’s home, even when they are not confident of necessarily having water leaks – why? Well sometimes this is when they are doing major redecoration or rebuild / refurbishment work or, along with that sometimes, after they have bought a home or business they are planning on doing up (especially on older properties).
We discuss how accidental damage can lead to issues in our article about sink blockages, where we have a quick test of Mr Muscle drain declogger, which is fascinating.
This then links us nicely on to…
3 – Keep an Eye Open / be Prepared
We have talked about this a lot before but there are many things that you can watch out for that might indicate you have possible water leaks in your home. Clearly this isn’t 100% preventative, however, if you spot these things early enough they can help you spot a water leak before it does any significant damage or, gets worse over time. We always say…
If you think you have a water leak – don’t ignore it as it will likely worsen over time!
The really simple things to keep an eye out for are:
- Visible signs of unexplained damp or moisture
- The sound of running or dripping water
- Increased water usage, a higher than expected bill
- Unusually high relative humidity or condensation
- Structural changes, including ceiling water damage
- Unusual / strong musty odours
- Unusually high levels of mould or new mould
- Stains or bubbling on walls and ceilings
- Low or reduced water pressure including on combi boilers
On that last point, see more in our guide regarding Low Boiler Pressure
These things do not mean for certainty you have water leaks but they are risk factors and clearly, the more of them you have, the more chances you might have of having a water leak.
4 – Water Leak Detectors, Sensors & Alarms
We wrote a separate article about water leak alarms and, like the previous point on this list of 5, they do not predict a water leak before it happens but they can give you an early warning before the leak has caused water damage to your home or caused other issues. The technology has moved on a lot in the last few years and, with the advent of smart sensors, can alert you on your phone even when you are not at home. They can also give peace of mind when you are away or on holiday.
Unfortunately, we do quite a lot of work with people who return from time away from their home and come back to find major water damage from a leak which has been getting worse when they have been away. Many of these, if caught early would not cause nearly as much damage.
A water leak alarm, detector or alarm can really help with that and we recommend them.
5 – Turning Your Water Off
This follows up from the previous section. Provided it is safe to do so, will not stop anything working while you are away and you are confident to do it – turning your stop tap into your home or business whist you are away can prevent water leaks occurring or at the least stop them from getting worse. Similarly, knowing where isolation valves are located can be very useful.
Clearly you need to think if it will affect anything whilst you are away but, in many cases, it can be a good safety and prevention method. The same applies to turning off things that use water.
Also, and this is a shorter term thing, we really recommend that people do not leave their washing machine or dishwasher running when you are out of the house, they are a leak risk (and can be a fire risk too). Try to do it when you are at home so you can keep an eye on it.
On that topic, see our article about how much water dishwashers use and other appliances and fixtures found in the hope too.
As well as being experts in leak detection and trace and access, we are one of the leading water damage restoration companies so as well as finding your water leak, we can help assess the damage caused and make recommendations for remedial actions that can be taken to help get your property back to normal. We can even dry your property after a leak or flood if needed.
So, if you need help with our different types of leak detection services, get in touch today.
What to if you suspect you have a water leak?
If you suspect you have a water leak (or water leaks!) in your home, do not ignore it. Water leaks can cause water damage to your home buildings and contents over time and even cause issues with damp or mould too. Plus, if left, water leaks can get worse over time. So if you need help with finding suspected water leaks, contact a professional leak detection company who will help locate your water leaks.
How do you know if your water is leaking slowly?
In order to tell if your water is leaking slowly, there are various methods that can be utilised. One of the simplest, if you have a water meter, is to make sure all items in your house are turned off and not using water. If the dials on the water meter are moving still, then you may have a water leak. Help is available from water leak detection companies such as ourselves, to locate any leaks you have.
What happens if water leaks in walls?
Depending on how bad the water leak is, where the water leaks from (fresh water vs sewage / waste water), the size of the water leak, the construction of the property and what is in the wall when water leaks will all affect what happens if water leaks in a wall. For example, a large water leak at high level in a property with cavity wall insulation is very different to a small leak in an empty void at low level. Each needs treating uniquely.