Discovering a water leak in your home can be stressful, particularly if you suspect the leak has gone undetected for quite some time. The fact is that even a small water leak can lead to extensive damage if left long enough without being repaired, making it critical that you take immediate action if you suspect that you have a water leak in your home.
Yet, you may feel overwhelmed and need help figuring out where to start, particularly if you have a substantial leak that has already caused significant damage to your home (such as the damage that a burst pipe may cause). If you suspect you may have a water leak in your home, keep reading to look at the steps you should take to help minimize the damage.
Turn Off Your Home’s Water
The first step you should take if you suspect a water leak in your home is to assess the severity of the leak. If you know where the leak is, and it is a significant leak, such as a burst pipe, you will want to turn off your home’s water supply immediately.
Alternatively, if you have a minor leak, such as a loose connection causing water to drip under your sink, you can contain it and fix it without shutting off the water to your home. However, in many cases, turning off your home’s water as soon as possible can help minimize damage and prevent flooding when you have a water leak.
To shut off your home’s water supply, locate your home’s water meter and turn the main water shutoff valve so no more water can flow to your home. To properly do this, you’ll need a water meter valve key. You can purchase one from a local hardware store if you don’t have one.
Suppose you have issues locating or shutting off this valve. In that case, you may need to contact a plumber or even emergency services if water is flooding your home, as you will need to stop the water flow as soon as possible to prevent significant damage.
Find The Source of The Leak
While some leaks, such as a burst pipe or a leaky faucet, may be obvious, others may be harder to detect. You may not even be sure you have a leak but are suspicious because of an unusually high water bill or because you hear water running somewhere in your home when it shouldn’t be. An easy way to determine whether there is a leak is to shut off all water sources in your home. Ensure that all faucets are shut off, and that your dishwasher and washing machine is not running. Check your water meter to see if it shows water is still running. If your meter is still moving and you are sure that you do not have any water running in your home, you almost certainly have an undetected leak that you will need to try to find.
The best place to start when searching for the source of a water leak would be with the toilets in your home, as they are one of the most common causes of undetected leaks. Try turning off the water to your toilets one at a time and check the low-flow indicator on your water meter after every shutdown. If the low-flow indicator stops spinning after you shut down a toilet, you have found the source of the leak. You can also check other common places leaks occur, such as at fittings under sinks.
Suppose you can still not find a leak, but your water meter indicates a leak is likely. In that case, you will need to contact an experienced plumber to help you track it down, as you may have a leak hiding somewhere in your walls that could cause significant structural damage to your home.
Clean Up the Mess
It would be best if you acted as soon as possible, as sitting water can cause mold and mildew growth in your home. Once you have determined the leak’s source and shut off the water supply to your home, your next step will be to clean up any mess that the leak may have caused, mainly if you had a large leak that caused significant flooding in your home.
Suppose you were fortunate enough to discover a leak as soon as it started. In that case, clean-up may be as simple as moving your furniture and belongings to another spot to dry and drying any affected surfaces with a mop and towels. Bringing in fans can also help dry wet surfaces to prevent mold growth.
Once you have all the water cleaned up, you must look for signs of property damage. If the leak went undetected for a while and there are signs of significant damage, such as wood rot or mold and mildew growth, you will need to look at hiring a professional for repairs and remediation.
Document The Damage
If you had a severe leak that caused damage to your walls, floors, furniture, and/or personal belongings, you want to document the damage as soon as you have stopped the flow of water in case you need to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance provider. Make sure to take pictures of all the damage, including the leak’s source and any damaged personal property. Take pictures before and after you clean up the water, as this can help demonstrate the extent of the flooding and damage caused by the leak.
Next, you want to call your insurance company to see if the damages caused by the leak may be covered by your insurance provider and start a claim. It is essential to talk to your insurance provider as soon as possible, as they may request that you collect specific evidence, and you may be required to work with a particular contractor when it comes time to repair water damage.
Contact an Experienced Plumber
Your next step will be to find a local plumber to help repair your leak. While you may be able to diagnose and repair minor leaks such as leaky faucets, loose connections, or a leaking toilet yourself, major leaks will require the attention of an experienced plumber. A plumber can be instrumental in helping you find the source of the leak, determine the extent of the damage it caused, and they can help you devise a plan to repair your plumbing to prevent further flooding.
If you have a water leak in your home, Contact Smoak’s Comfort Control for assistance. Our plumbers have decades of experience providing quality plumbing services to local homeowners. We can help find a solution to your plumbing problems and support you during this difficult time.