When water supply line leaks
Water supply line is buried minimum 3 feet below the ground and leaks are difficult to identify. They cannot be noticed through a spike in water consumption because the leaks are located before the point of water meter.
What can sometimes happen is that water travels back to the meter and pools up in the meter box. If you can rule out built-up rain or irrigation run-off, then you’re probably looking at a signal of water supply line leak.
Damp soil around the area where the water supply rises above ground is also indicative of a leak. In severe leaks, water will seep through the soil directly above the leaking point.
If you suspect or know your water supply is leaking, you should immediately contact the water utility and refrain from making any repairs with your plumber.
When fixtures leak
Leaking faucets, showers and tubs can be repaired in-house if you’re a handy person. A fixture that drips every other second will waste over 1,000 gallons a year. That explains why you shouldn’t just let dripping faucets be.
The type of repair depends on which type of faucet you have: one with a compression valve, a ball type, a cartridge type or one with ceramic discs.
When toilets leak
These are relatively silent situations and often go unnoticed, but it’s believed that up to 35% of homes have leaking toilets. One symptom is a valve that hisses or gurgles when the cistern is not being used.
You can inspect the cistern yourself. When you take the lid off, look at the water level – it shouldn’t be more than one inch below the overflow tube. If it is, there are three possibilities. The water level could be set too high. The float could be damaged, failing to close the refill valve. The valve is worn out.
Flapper valve could also be faulty. To check this, you can put a few drops of food coloring or dye tablets in the cistern. If the colored water shows up in the bowl in the following 15 minutes, the flapper valve is malfunctioning. The best repair is replacement.
When evaporative cooling systems cause leaks
Evaporative or swamp coolers use water evaporation to cool the air sent to the home. The system’s reservoir is usually connected to the water supply. If the refill valve is deficient, it allows a constant inflow of water that drains out the overflow line into wastewater drain. For this reason, this leak is hard to detect.
If you’re suspecting a faulty refill valve in your evaporation cooler, shut down the equipment and observe whether water is leaking through the overflow line. If that is the case, the repair is easy and requires a replacement of the refill valve or the re-circulation pump or the water lines.
When pools and fountains leak
One fifth of all pools has a leak that usually results in exorbitant water bills due to increased consumption and water loss. A pinhole leak can cause a loss of almost 1,000 gallons a day. Signs that should receive your attention are: constantly damp soil around the pool, settling of the structure, cracks in the pool shell, tiles falling out, algae emerging too quickly after treatment, and a water level dropping one third of an inch every 24 hours.
To check for a leak you can carry out a bucket test. Fill the bucket with some water and put a tape marking the level of the water in it. Place the bucket on the top step of the pool and stick another piece of tape to record the water level on the outside of the bucket. Check in 24 hours. Put other two pieces of tape to mark the levels of water inside and outside the bucket. If they differ, i.e. if the outside water level dropped more than the inside level, you probably have a leak in the structure or the plumbing of your pool or fountain. The test can be applied to fountains in the same way.
If you are suspecting you have a leak in your home, the wisest thing to do is call a professional for help. The professionals at Plumbing Plus understand that leaks require immediate attention and we dispatch our skillful experienced technicians in the shortest period possible. If you live in Mira Mesa, Ramona, Escondido, San Marcos, Rancho Bernardo or anywhere else in San Diego County, you can depend on Plumbing Plus to fix any leak you could be experiencing!