Water damage can rot wood, produce black mold and cause support failure. Early detection of a water leak is crucial to preventing a few drips from ballooning into large-scale damage. Eventually, the damage will spread. When that happens, what could have been a minor caulking job now requires removing the shower control and maybe part of the wall in order to repair the damage. In most cases, procrastination does lead to larger expenses.
It is important to be on a continual lookout for signs of leaks in your home’s plumbing system. Are there rust stains in your sinks, or does rust-colored water come from your faucets? Do your pipes make a “bang” noise when you turn the faucet off? Are there signs of moisture on your floors or walls, or do you see erosion from wet soil around your foundation? If you notice any of these warning signs, have a plumber check your home for existing or potential plumbing leaks. Finally, keep an eye on your water bill. An unexplained jump in your home’s monthly water cost could signal that water is leaking somewhere.
Repair all leaks as soon as they are found. A leak might not be as obvious as a dripping pipe. It may be a hole in caulking around the plate supporting faucet in your shower. Water can get trapped behind and cause mold or mildew. See What is Moisture?
Toilet overflows and leaks are another frequent cause of home water damage. The easiest way to prevent many toilet problems is to simply stay in the bathroom until the toilet has finished refilling. When overflows do happen, turn off the toilet’s water supply as fast as you can.
Inspect your toilets periodically. Inside the tank, check the fill and flush valves to make sure they work properly. Ensure that the toilet’s supply line connection is tight and that the valve is in good condition. Watch to see if the toilet runs between uses, as this could be a sign of worn components. If you notice that your toilet runs excessively, have a plumber inspect it and replace faulty parts.
Check the joints of pipes under kitchen and bathroom sinks. There is often a small hole in the plumber’s tape or compound from which water can escape. That’s all it takes for mildew to start. Most cabinets are made from pressboard or plywood which can weaken and rot. Eventually water will seep below to less accessible areas for mold to grow. Check to see that your pipes are dry at the bottom of the ‘U’ and around joints .
Kitchen faucets are one of the worst offenders for having leaks int the sealant or caulk. Water creeps behind the sink behind the faucet. Kitchen sinks are located by windows where temperature changes are common. These fluctuations cause expansions and contractions that further weaken the seal around the sink. Give these areas a good inspection. It costs less to repair small areas than to let it go and have to rip flooring and cabinetry.
In areas with cold winters take care against pipes freezing in the winter. When temperatures reach extreme cold snaps it is a good idea to let faucets drip just slightly to stop pressure from building up in the pipes. Keeping your home’s temperature over 60 degrees helps ensure against bursting pipes. Opening cabinets under sinks allows warm area to circulate around pipes. Use a space heater for basement pipes if necessary.
You may also want to read Steps to Reduce Water Damage