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What to Do When There is a Plumbing Leak


Plumbing leaks are an inevitable part of residential living. Water may leak from the toilet, bathtub, sink, washing machine or any of several other household appliances. When a leak occurs, a homeowner should be quick to repair it in order to avoid disastrous water damage.

In the US, plumbing leaks are so common that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set aside a week every March called Fix a Leak Week. The special week is designed to encourage homeowners to inspect their household fixtures and repair leaks.

Across the country, 11 trillion gallons of water are wasted as a result of plumbing leaks. Consider that these trillions of gallons are equivalent to the annual household water use in 11 million homes. A minor percentage of household water leaks account for 90 gallons of water waste per day.

The good news is that fixing plumbing leaks can be a simple DIY project or one that licensed plumbing professionals can quickly address. Repairing plumbing leaks as soon as they are detected can save homeowners approximately 10% on water bills.

Dripping faucets, worn toilet flappers and leaky showerheads may require the replacement of parts. Fortunately, fixture replacement is rarely a large financial investment. However, homeowners who delay the repair of plumbing leaks can face extensive water damage and more costly problems.


What are common causes of plumbing leaks?

Home plumbing systems can spring an unanticipated leak when pipe joints deteriorate. Older water pipes are subject to the buildup of corrosion or damage and will eventually start to leak. Appliance line connections surrounded by poor seals are also a cause of plumbing leaks.

Clogs or backups in the pipes can lead to pipes bursting or overflowing. Water pressure that dramatically fluctuates is another trigger of a leaky plumbing system. Outside pipes are susceptible to damage from invasive tree roots; the resulting pipe damage causes leaks.

What is the correct approach to a plumbing leak?

1. Detect the Leak

Detecting the leak is the first step in fixing it. Typically, an unusually high water bill is the clearest warning that the plumbing system has developed a leak. According to the EPA, the monthly winter water bill for a family of four should not exceed 12,000 gallons.

2. Inspect the Plumbing

Inspect the home for plumbing leaks. Listen for dripping faucets. Look for rust or water puddles around sinks, showers, and floors under the faucet. Pipes behind the toilet can emit bubbling noises when a leak is present. Musty, moldy smells accompany leaks.

3. Fix the Source of the Leak

The source of the plumbing leak should be addressed. If the problem is a loose coupling nut in the pipes, tightening the nut with a wrench will resolve the issue. Replace worn seals in the pipe with plumber’s tape. A temporary fix for leaky pipes is applying epoxy putty.

4. Document Water Damage

Plumbing leaks can lead to water damage. A homeowner who intends to file a water damage claim with the homeowner’s insurance should document the damage before initiating cleanup. Gather evidence of the water damage on video, in photographs, and in detailed notes.

5. Clean Up Excess Moisture

Clean up damp floors with a mop or towels. Standing water should be extracted using a wet/dry vac. Water extraction equipment, including large dehumidifiers, are available for rent from local hardware stores. Be aware that small home dehumidifiers are not built to handle the task.

6. Disinfect Affected Areas

Upon eliminating the excess water, it is critical to disinfect the affected area. Depending on the water source, the plumbing system can spew contaminated water. Moisture itself is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Use a bleach and water solution to disinfect.

7. Dry the Property

Drying the area may be achieved by opening windows, if weather permits. Set up large fans throughout the affected space to speed up the drying process. Run the dehumidifier from the center of the room. Plan to continuously run the various equipment for two to three consecutive days.

8. Repair Structural Damage

Structural damage may be a consequence of the plumbing leak. Damaged drywall must be torn out and replaced. Inspect the floors and undersides of carpets for mold growth. Due to health safety reasons, some water damaged possessions, like drenched carpeting, should be discarded or replaced.


Water Damage Restoration

ServiceMaster-Water-Damage-Restoration-Stafford-TXCleaning up the excess moisture from minor plumbing leaks can be readily tackled by homeowners. However, when the plumbing leak leads to major household water damage, homeowners are advised to utilize the services of skilled and experienced water damage restoration professionals.

Instances of major water damage include flooding in multiple rooms, pipes leaking through the ceiling, leaks that go undetected for over eight hours, buckled hardwood floors, soggy carpeting, and warped vinyl. A pro should be consulted when sewage cleanup is involved or mold infestations develop.

The area’s most reliable water damage cleanup company is ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning. Our crews quickly eliminate excess moisture, whether the source is a plumbing leak, flooding, malfunctioning appliance, burst pipe, sewage backup, or any other cause of water damage.

Water damage is notorious for spreading rapidly. Moisture is absorbed into porous materials, like wood, drywall, and furnishings. Without professional attention, mold colonies will develop within 24 to 48 hours. Structural materials are subject to rotting, warping, and losing their integrity.

Experienced technicians from ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning perform top-notch water damage cleanup. We’ll restore your home or business by removing the water, drying the affected areas, monitoring the property for excess moisture, sanitizing affected spaces, and cleaning the growing mold.

Our water damage restoration services go beyond cleaning and drying the damaged property. We also help property owners speed up insurance claims. Temporary storage options are available to house water damaged goods. Skilled specialists perform carpet and upholstery cleaning services.

Water damage is an emergency, which is why the pros at ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning are available 24/7. Water mitigation is our specialty, and we’ll quickly return your Houston, Texas, home or business to its pre-loss condition. Call us for immediate, high-quality water damage cleanup services.