In an average household, a water leak can waste up to 180 gallons of water in a week. Since an average shower uses about 20 gallons, that leak would waste the water equivalent of about nine showers in one week. On top of wasting a valuable resource, water leaks also drive up your utility bill. You’ll be spending money on water you never get to use. So the question is, how do you fix a water leak?
Depending on the leak, you might be able to fix it yourself. Read on to learn how to handle a plumbing leak repair and when you need to call a professional.
Find the Location of the Leak
If you notice water on the floor, a leaky pipe is probably the culprit. But before you can fix it, you need to know where it’s coming from. Water doesn’t usually travel far from the source of the leak, so look nearby. Do you see drips or a wet spot on the pipe? If you still don’t see the source, there’s an easy trick for plumbing leak detection. Use a dry tissue to wipe the pipe connections. If it comes back wet, you’ve found your leak.
Turn Off the Water Supply
As most articles on plumbing tips suggest, you need to turn off the water supply. First, look for a shutoff valve near the leak. If the leak is under the kitchen or bathroom sink, check there for a shutoff valve. If you can’t find the exact shutoff valve, you can turn off your home’s main water supply. It’s usually in your basement or utility room. If you have a major leak, turn off your main water supply as soon as possible.
Check the Pipe Joints
If you have a minor leak under a sink, a loose pipe joint might be to blame. Threaded joints connect the pipe sections and they can loosen over time. Check the connection with your hand. If it feels loose or you see water dripping, use a wrench to gently tighten the joint. Just don’t over-tighten the connection. You can actually strip the screws and cause more damage.
Seal the Pipe
If it’s not a loose joint, it could be a punctured or cracked pipe. Once you find the leak with the tissue trick from above, you can start your repairs. For minor leaks, you can rub a compound stick on the leak. You can also use epoxy putty, but make sure to wear latex or nitrile gloves since epoxy heats up when you use it. If it’s a bigger leak, you may need to buy a pipe clamp from your local hardware store. Know that each of these solutions are temporary fixes. You should still consider hiring a plumber, since a minor problem can turn into a plumbing emergency.
Still Dealing with a Leak? Hire a Professional for Plumbing Leak Repair
If you’ve tried some of the above DIY tips for plumbing leak repair and you still have a leak, it might be time to hire a pro. Look for a local plumber online, in the phonebook, or get referrals from friends and family. Sometimes, plumbing leaks are more complicated than they seem. Hiring a plumber before your minor leak turns into a serious issue can save you money. If you enjoyed this home improvement article, check out our lifestyle blog for more great content.