A leaking pipe demands immediate attention. Some homeowners might try to fix the pipe with temporary fixes, but those fixes are just that — temporary. Eventually, the temporary fix will fail and you will be left with a problem that is likely worse than the original leak.
Instead of wasting your money and time on temporary fixes, take action to get the issue properly fixed. Generally, this will require hiring a plumber who can evaluate the problem and make a plan to fix it. By using a licensed plumber, you are taking steps to protect your biggest investment — your home.
Before deciding to consider do-it-yourself fixes or simply avoiding the leak, consider the following points.
Leaking Pipes Can Have Many Causes
There are numerous causes for leaking pipes. Worn pipes, which are common in older homes, can lead to leaks. Galvanized pipes, for example, are only good for 50 to 70 years. Tree roots pressing against pipes, ground or foundation movement, and temperature changes are other common causes of pipe leaks.
If you find a leaking pipe, determining the reason is crucial. Once you know the reason for the leak, you can prevent the same issue from occurring again.
Leaking Pipes Cost You Money and Waste Water
A leak that has a rate of one drip per second wastes more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. If you have leaking pipes, you will likely have multiple drips or drips that occur more frequently than one drop per second. In areas where water is being restricted or during a drought, that amount of water can make a big difference.
Not only do leaking pipes waste water, they also cost you money. Your water bill will likely increase if your pipes are leaking. If the leak is in a hot water pipe that is after the hot water heater, you will likely see an increase in your electric or gas bill because the leak will mean the water is constantly moving through the water heater .
Speaking of your water heater, that might also cost you money. If the leak begins with the water heater, it most likely will need to work harder to stay at the appropriate temperature. That means that you might have to replace the water heater sooner than what you would have had to if it were in perfect working order.
Leaking Pipes Can Lead to Damage
Leaking pipes can lead to extensive damage. In some cases, this can mean replacing walls, floors, ceilings, or beams. The damage a leaking pipe can cause often means that you will be out of a lot more money than you would have been if you had simply fixed the leak as soon as it started.
You might also end up with a mold or mildew issue if you don’t correct leaks right away. This can lead to health problems that could have been prevented. If this occurs, you might have to rip out some materials that are harboring the mold and mildew. That means your repair bill will increase because those materials will all have to be replaced.
Leaking Pipes Might Require Repiping
Leaking pipes can often require repiping which means replacing pipes in your home. You can opt to have only a specific section done, such as the section containing the leak, or you can also opt to have the entire house repiped.
While repiping a house might seem like an extreme measure, you should think of the money that you will likely save in the long term by having the job done now. You won’t have to worry about the older pipes failing and having to have small sections repiped often.
A bonus to having the house repiped is that you can choose the type of pipes that you want. There are four main types of pipes that are used for residential applications: CPVC, copper, PEX, and galvanized. Of these, copper is the most common but in areas with high acidity, copper pipes are prone to pinholes. That means that if you have high acidity water, you should speak to the plumber about other types.
When you have your home repiped, you will have workers there for anywhere from one day up to a week. Holes will have to be cut into the walls and ceilings; however, these are well worth having the pipes replaced so that you don’t have to worry about global damage to your home’s supporting structures.
Leaking Pipes Can Affect Water Pressure and Temperature
Water pressure and water temperature can be affected by leaking pipes. If the leak is a larger leak, the pipes will lose pressure. You might notice that your shower isn’t as strong as it was. Your toilet might seem to flush slowly or incompletely. The tub or sink might take longer to fill.
When it comes to water temperature, leaks from the water heater are likely to cause fluctuations in the temperature. This is because the water will cool some as it moves through the open pipes. The water might seem to be cooler because the water heater is working almost constantly to keep the water warm since cold water is flowing into the tank as hot water leaks from the pipes.
Even though you might not want to incur the expense, getting a leaking pipe fixed right away is always the best option. Ignoring the leak or trying stop-gap solutions can lead to more costly repairs later on.