It’s 2015 and time for your annual home check up.
Who wants to check for mundane things like plumbing leaks and other potential problems? Probably not many. Those could be the people in for a rude surprise at the most inopportune moment. You are not going to be one of those surprised people, are you?
Of course not! You know just what to do, right? OK, just in case, you can check to see if I remember what to do…..
Probably the most destructive and often hidden issue is water leaking. It could come from many places. The hidden places include: Under any sink with cabinets below it. Water heaters in closets. Improperly grouted bathtubs and showers are just a few of the hidden places. Sometimes toilet supply lines and water softener lines can leak. It makes little difference whether the water is under pressure or leaking just from the pull of gravity; any water in places it shouldn’t be is bad.
Under kitchen sinks: Garbage disposers can rot and leak. P-traps can get knocked loose and seep just enough water to ruin the floor under the sink and promote the growth of mold. Dishwasher connections to the disposer or P-trap can come loose or dry out and then leak. Sometimes even the faucet or dish sprayer can leak. Shut off valves/supply lines can be a source of water. Lastly, plumbers putty can be dried out or missing from under the faucet and water leak past the faucet while cleaning around the sink. How hard is it to check all this? A flashlight and a few minutes is all you need.
Under bathroom sinks: P-traps can be loosened when you overload the cabinets below the sink. If the P-traps are metal, they can be rotted through and leak. The drain stopper mechanism could be loose, rotted or missing providing a path for water to escape and ruin the flooring under the sink or worse. Carpeting, the ceiling of the floor below, sheet rock behind the sink as well as baseboards adjacent to the sink will be damaged by the leak. Plumbers putty could be dried out or missing from between the sink and faucet. I’ve even seen where the faucet lines have corroded and seeped. Don’t overlook the shut off valves/supply lines as a source for a leak. I’ve seen where old porcelain-coated metal sinks have rusted through, so take a peek up under the sink should your house have metal sinks.
Toilets are pretty self contained, but they can have issues with the supply line or shutoff valve too. Older units may have a corrugated supply line that leaks over time from corrosion. If the toilet is loose from the floor, the wax ring may be compromised and water can leak from under the toilet when flushed. Toilet that are loose can be a safety hazard too.
The laundry room: Washer hook ups and drain hoses that leak are often overlooked until you find water everywhere from a burst supply hose. Look those supply hoses over at both ends. The hose bibs could leak also.
If you have an ice maker in your refrigerator, the supply valve/line can leak. Peek behind the refrigerator while doing your inspection. Supply and drain lines for your dishwasher should be inspected at the same time.
Next to the water heater in a closet: Supply lines and fittings can leak. Shut-off valves and drain valves can leak. The biggest problem: The water heater tank itself could leak. If the water heater is over 10 years old, there is a good chance it’s on its last legs. Hard water makes things worse.
Top of water heater leaking badly
Another unsuspecting area for water to leak is from the HVAC condensation drain. If it clogs with algae or mold, water can back up and leak into floors, walls and downstairs ceilings. As side note, it’s always a good idea to pour a cup of bleach into the drain pipe to prevent blockage of the drain. Usually there is a place to pour the bleach.
If you have a water softener, the drain line can leak, valves that control the flow of water and O-rings can become hard and leak.
While they may not cause damage inside the house, outside hose bibs should be checked also. Over time, they can promote the rotting of siding and even cause foundation issues. They are an easy, inexpensive replacement.
In a later blog I’ll cover other devices in your home that use water and how to service them as well. If you are unsure where your leaks are coming from or don’t feel comfortable digging around under sinks and around pipes, call you local handyman: MrFixIt Mike.
Mike @ 210-452-5816
Happy New Year 2015!