Plumbing leaks are one of the most subtly dangerous disasters that can befall a household. A small leak hidden somewhere in the walls can slowly undermine your home over years and promote mold and mildew growth. A large, abrupt leak, on the other hand, can flood the home, destroy furniture and appliances, and make the place temporarily uninhabitable. Either one can cost thousands, or even tens of thousands, in repairs. In fact, water damage is among the most common reasons for homeowners insurance claims. Read on to learn more about how plumbing leaks can damage your home and what you can do to prevent them.

Five Ways Your Plumbing Can Betray You

The top five reasons for water damage insurance claims, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety:

  • Plumbing Supply System Failure: This occurs when the pipes bringing water into your home are compromised in one way or another. A supply system failure can be one of the most catastrophic water problems because water has a chance to escape the pipes at full pressure.
  • Leaks from the Toilet: If you're lucky, water only leaks from your toilet before it gets to the bowl. If it leaks from the bowl after it's been used, you have a sewage problem on your hand as well as a flood. Either problem requires immediate attention.
  • Water Heater Failure: Hot water heaters don't last forever, and they can develop slow leaks over time, or fail all at once in spectacular fashion.
  • Drains not Functioning Properly: A drain backup can bring sewage into your home, multiplying the damage you’re exposed to and causing a health risk as well.
  • Washing Machines Gone Rogue: Washing machines can fail you at the inlet or outlet hose – and they can create a big flood in a hurry if the hoses burst during use.

All Plumbing Leaks Great and Small

You can boost your chances of discovering hidden plumbing leaks before they cause a crisis by watching for discolored spots in your walls and ceilings, or, better yet, have a plumber come inspect your pipes periodically to sniff out any problems. Keep an eye on the water meter as well, allowing you to catch any unusual spikes in consumption.

When it comes to major plumbing leaks, the biggest concern is preventing your pipes from freezing in the wintertime. Also, make sure your water pressure isn't too high, which can put stress on your pipes over time. If the pipes are very old or made of outdated material, it might be time to revamp the plumbing system entirely. It's a big investment, but a lot more palatable than dealing with a flooded home.

Sound the Alarm for Water Leakage

You can also consider installing a water sensor system, which sends you an alert or shuts off the plumbing automatically if it senses water in an unusual area of your home. These systems can save you a lot of hassle and money, but it is challenging to get complete coverage of your home and they may not detect pinhole leaks in a timely manner, if at all.

For help implementing strategies geared toward preventing plumbing leaks large or small, call a local plumber today.

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