Canadians are using an average of 329L of water per day. It’s not just for washing their dishes, doing their laundry, or taking an extra-long shower. Due to household plumbing leaks, we’re wasting more water each year. Not only is this impacting the environment and your home, but it may also be the culprit for higher than normal water bills.
Daily habits aren’t the only thing to blame for higher-than-normal usage. One leaky toilet can cost you nearly a month’s worth of groceries per year if gone unnoticed. A burst pipe? Well, that can rack up 100k+ worth of damage in an extreme case. So what exactly constitutes a plumbing emergency, what can you fix yourself, and what can wait? Let’s take a deeper look at different types of leaks, warning signs, and when you should call an emergency plumber.
How to Check for a Water Leak
Your water meter may often identify more significant leaks or a combination of smaller ones adding up to a bigger problem. You can do a quick leak check with your water meter by following these steps:
- Turn off all the water inside your home and ensure nothing is running.
- Check your water meter reading, wait 15 minutes, and check again. Make sure no one is using the water during these 15 minutes.
- If the meter has recorded any water during this test, you may have a leak.
This test will only work if you have a large leak or a combination of small leaks. Here are some of the most common types of leaks, what to look out for, and what’s worth an emergency call.
When to Hire a Plumber to Fix a Leak
There are two categories of water leaks out there. A catastrophic water leak that will quickly rack up thousands in damage or a slow but deadly leak that will drive up bills until discovered. Here are some of the common culprits and what you should know if you run into any of these issues.
Burst pipes typically happen due to freezing temperatures. Have you ever put a drink in the freezer to cool it down faster? If you forgot about it, maybe you returned to a shattered bottle or burst cap. It can quickly cause damage behind walls and add up to over $100k in the destruction of your personal property and irreplaceable family heirlooms. If you’ve noticed the water pressure going up and down, a rusty brown or white appearance to your water, or hear unusual noises coming from your pipes, these could be major red flags. It’s best to call an emergency plumber for this one right away.
A plumber may be required to fix certain types of toilet leaks, but there’s something you can try first. Some are a straightforward fix, such as a damaged flapper or faulty fill valve. A trick for investigating this problem starts with observing the bowl and water tank levels by putting food colouring in the tank. After 20 minutes, if it seeped into the toilet bowl, you’ll likely need your flapper and fill valve replaced. You can purchase this yourself and follow a step-by-step guide or call the experts to assist you. If this isn’t the case, your next move should be calling a plumber to look at the problem.
The most common reason for dripping faucets, indoor or outdoor, is a faulty faucet washer. This small round rubber component may be found by removing your valve and valve stem. If the faucet washer seems worn or deteriorating, you can find a replacement at a local hardware store. Make sure you find one that matches the same size for a perfect fit. Winterizing your exterior faucet might help prevent leaks in the future as well. If the leak is still occurring, it may be time to hire a plumber to investigate further.
Leaks you should leave for the experts.
When your water system begins to leak, your first reaction is to try to fix the problem yourself to avoid the dreaded plumbing expense. While there are plenty of YouTube videos and DIY guides, you may create a bigger problem than what you started with. If you aren’t sure how to approach the leak or have the know-how experience, you’re best trusting an honest plumber that can quickly diagnose the problem.
Don’t wait for a small leak to turn into a home catastrophe. Our experts at Plumbing and Heating Paramedics are here to rescue you from any plumbing issue, including faulty toilets, leaky showers, dripping faucets, problem sinks, and more. Call to speak with a licensed, friendly plumbing technician 24/7 at (403) 879-7213 or contact us to book an appointment.
Have you ever had a small leak? How about a plumbing emergency? Was it an expensive fix? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments below, and our readers would too.