There are several places in homes where plumbing leaks start slowly and work their way up to major repairs due to water damage.  We often don’t think about the areas that we cannot see.  Things like faucets and shower head leaks are easy to spot and fix.  Here are a few common places that plumbing leaks lurk that are not easy to notice.


  • Toilets– Most people have at one time or another used the hanging bowl deodorants. A good plumber will tell you not to use these.  These can slip from position and lodge deep in your plumbing system.  Debris and grease can cling to it causing slow drainage and blocks in the lines. Also the chlorine can wear the internal parts of the toilet faster.  If you see gray stains on the flooring around the toilet and they do not come up with scrubbing, you may have a leak below the surface.  Also if the toilet moves back and forth or side to side, even a little, the wax ring seal of the toilet is compromised and is likely to seep.
  • Refrigerators– If you have a built-in icemaker, you have a built-in potential floor mess!  In fact, the wet spots you see on the floor might indicate a crimped icemaker line, and if it’s crimped, it’s just waiting to burst.  Also, anytime you move your refrigerator to clean behind it or for any reason at all, check for water.  If you find any, remember this:  the smaller the water accumulation, the more damaging the problem can be. Slow, steady leaks can eventually rot your wood floor, while big, messy leaks are easier to detect and solve before serious damage ensues.
  • Water Heater– Internal rust and hard water damage.  Fact is most water heaters are designed to last 10 years.  So check yours often, drain it yearly, and make sure there’s a floor drain beneath it.  Also, new water heaters include a safety valve, one that is normally closed.  There’s a pipe attached to the valve that usually discharges to the floor.  If water is leaking from the valve or pipe, the probable cause is a failed safety valve…something you should replace immediately.

Every now and then, turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, and don’t flush your toilets for at least one hour.  Next, record the water meter reading.  If the flow indicator (rotating button) is spinning or the meter reading changes while no water is being used, there’s an excellent chance a water leak is lurking somewhere within your home.

Ultimately, the best way to fix a leak is to find it before the damage occurs!  An excellent way to accomplish that is with a whole-home plumbing checkup.

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