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The Most Common Causes of Water Leaks in Homes

The worst nightmare for many homeowners is hearing water dripping behind the walls, seeing bubbling, blistering, or water stains on drywall, or even finding mold growth that signals the presence of excess moisture. All are bad news that can mean costly repairs thanks to a leak. Of course, even worse would be unseen and unheard moisture that leads to some kind of collapse, but chances are good that you’ll see evidence of a leak appear long before it gets to the point of the upstairs tub falling through the ceiling and into the living room. The real problem, though, is that by the time you see the telltale signs of a leak, damage has already been done. Wouldn’t you really rather prevent leaks if you could? It just so happens that by understanding the main culprits behind common household leaks, you may be able to perform some preventive maintenance. Here are just a few things you might want to keep an eye on where potential leaks are concerned.

  1. Appliances. You might think that the roof is the most common point of ingress for water issues, or even the plumbing running through the walls, but you may find that problems actually occur more regularly in the appliances you fill with water every day. It makes sense when you think about it; most washing machines and dishwashers come with a warranty that lasts, say, 3-5 years whereas roofing and plumbing pipes could be slated to work in your home for anywhere from 20-50 years, on average (with some products promising 100 years of service, barring natural disasters). So you can see why leaks from appliances happen more frequently than other types. And really, all you have to do to prevent them is perform inspections and maintenance on your machinery as recommended and call for service immediately whenever there’s a problem.
  2. Roofing issues. Your roof is subjected to all kinds of abuse thanks to the elements, and inclement weather can definitely do a doozy on your home’s hat. However, annual inspections, maintenance, and repairs can go a long way towards extending the life of your roof. You can even do inspections and simple maintenance (clean gutters, replace warped or curling shingles, etc.) yourself in order to save money. And for issues you can’t manage on your own, it’s easy enough to call in an expert to repair problem areas and get your roof in ship shape.
  3. Corrosion and rust. When it comes to plumbing, what’s in your water can definitely damage pipes and lead to leaks. Corrosion, for example, may occur due to chemicals in the water or even deterioration caused by time. And rust is obviously caused by exposure to water. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent such problems aside from replacing outdated plumbing with modern materials that are resistant to such issues.
  4. Deteriorated seals. Every piece of plumbing needs to be sealed in order to prevent leakage, and occasionally those seals will deteriorate and fail. If you have a leaky faucet, fixing it could be as simple as removing the nozzle and adding some new plumber’s tape. Or if your toilet is leaking from the base, you might have to replace the wax seal. Of course, the plumbing in your walls may need new seals, which is a major production, but there are a few jobs you can tackle on your own if you notice surface leaking.
  5. Excessive pressure. Pretty much everyone likes high-pressure spray in the shower, but you might not realize that excess water pressure can damage your pipes and lead to leaks. Checking the system regularly is a good way to ensure that the water pressure you experience is in keeping with the system you have. You no doubt understand the benefits of an air conditioning tune up, and this is no different. Although it can be expensive to have your system tested, it’s bound to cost a lot less than springing a leak.

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