How To Detect Water Leaks

By: John Morris

Rapid world population growth and lifestyle change contributes to the increased demand for water by mankind. Additionally, low level rainfall in some parts of the world, slowed the replenishment of water supply. Therefore, each one of us should make our best efforts in the conservation of one the most precious commodity here on our planet, which is water. One such effort is to watch out for water leaks in our homes, no matter how small those leaks might be.

1. Water Leak Detection

Although some water leaks are so slow that they are not detectable, some known leaks are being ignored by some homeowners. This is due to ignorance to the fact that small leaks that keeps on leaking would sum up into thousands of gallons in a year. Imagine if all homeowners will have the same attitude? Moreover, water leaks not only contribute to worldwide water shortage, but also cause damage to some parts of the house's structure. Damages to the house structural elements could cause the house to deteriorate faster, collapse, and injuries to its occupants. Water leak detection can either be done by periodically checking the areas and components of the house's plumbing system or by installing a commercially available water leak detection device.

2. Passive Leak Detection System

Usually stand-alone battery-operated devices that produce alarm sound when its moisture sensor becomes wet, these alarms enable the homeowner to locate exactly where the water leaks are and do the necessary repairs. Since these are battery-dependent devices, its battery should be checked regularly.

3. Active Leak Detection Systems

These also sound an alarm when it detect water leaks, and will automatically stop the water flow. It may use a moisture sensor or a flow sensor in monitoring any water leaks. There are two types of active leak detection systems:

a. Individual appliance systems
These monitor leaks from a single appliance and automatically shut off water supplies to such appliances should leaks be detected
b. Whole house systems
These monitor leaks in the whole house and shut off the main water supply to the house should leaks be detected.

4. Places To Check For Water Leaks:

- Bathroom & toilet area (check for leaks on showerhead, faucet, and water heating system)
- Kitchen (check for leaks on faucet, dishwasher, water heating system)
- Laundry room (check for leaks on faucet, clothes washer)
- Garage and basement area (check on evaporator cooler, hot water system)
- Lawn (check on turf, low water use garden, irrigation system)
- Pool and spa
- Patio
- Water meter

5. Monitoring Water Leaks:

- Your toilet is making sounds when nobody is near?
- Is your toilet flushing itself when nobody is near?
- Place food coloring in the tank. Do you see any in the bowl?
- Do you see any discoloration in your walls, floors, ceilings, etc?
- Monitor your water bill. Do you have a higher bill this month with about the same consumption?

Water leaks only worsen through time; it would be wise for you to deal with it as early as possible. Early detection and repair shall save you money and prevent damage to your house. If you ignore it, you are only postponing something you should do anyway.

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