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How To Check For Leaks In Your Home

Dripping faucets, drafty rooms, explosions — all leaks in your home, ranging from merely annoying to life threatening. And all preventable.

Some facts associated with leaks in U.S. homes include:

  • Roughly 900 billion gallons of water wasted annually

  • Approximately 15% higher energy costs in homes that are improperly insulated and air sealed

  • More than 4,000 home structure fires beginning with natural gas ignition, and $133 million in property damage linked to natural gas incidents each year

That’s why you should know how to check for leaks in your home, and how to stop them.

Water Leaks

A spike in water bills, bubbling or bulging paint or wallpaper, discolored drywall, dripping noises, musty smells, and even a faster-growing patch of grass can be indicators of water leaks.

  • Where to Check: Kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures; household appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers, hot water heaters, clothes washers); ceilings and ceiling fixtures; windows; around HVAC units; and penetrations (chimneys, piping, conduit).
  • What to Do: Turn off the water supply. Document any damage. Notify your insurance company. Consult with the necessary professional (plumber, roofer, window specialist) to confirm the source and determine next steps. Perform a water meter check (and record the results).

Air Leaks

Air leaks can be felt (around a drafty door or window) and seen (light around a door). A blower door test and visual inspections performed by a technician can better locate leaks and reveal areas where your home needs more insulation.

  • Where to Check: Windows, doors, ductwork, fireplaces, switch plates and outlets; penetrations including pipes, wires and mail slots; exterior corners; and the intersection of siding and chimneys or foundations.
  • What to do: Weatherstrip or caulk openings around windows and doors. Install foam gaskets behind outlets and switch plates. Apply foam sealant where necessary. Have ductwork checked for leaks.

Gas Leaks

A rotten egg smell, hissing sounds or unusual flames on your gas burners can all indicate a gas leak.

  • Where to Check: Water heaters, dryers, stoves, ovens and fireplaces.

  • What to Do: Check pilot lights. Avoid using lights, electronic on/off switches, lighters, matches, etc. Call the gas company or the fire department. Consult an HVAC pro.

Don’t Hesitate. Remediate.

Delaying leak repairs seldom pays off.

Water leaks can increase your water bills and slowly destroy your home. Air leaks decrease your comfort and increase heating and cooling costs. Gas leaks can kill you.

Be safe. Consult an expert. For more information, check out the accompanying resource.

Infographic created by Conway Services, an air conditioning company

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