There is an old saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s the idea that the most noticeable or bothersome problems are most likely to get attention.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Leaking water does not always get the attention it deserves. When it goes unnoticed or is ignored, it can cause major damage to your home and lifestyle.
It’s probably safe to assume that every house has either had a water leak, is experiencing one now, or will in the future. Some leaks are more expensive to repair than others, depending on their source and how quickly they are discovered and remedied. The intent of this column is to draw attention to the importance of little leaks around the home, not the catastrophic events surrounding a major water break or damage.
Left unattended over a long period of time, even slow leaks under sinks, around toilets and in the laundry room can lead to expensive repairs to the cabinets, flooring and walls.
These types of leaks can occur in the supply lines or waste drains and pipes. Both are problematic.
Faucet and shutoff valve leaks are very common and usually the easiest to repair. It is amazing to realize how much water can be wasted from a slow and steady drip. One source that I read stated that just one drop every two seconds amounts to more than 1,000 gallons in a year.
If you are handy around the house, you may choose to repair the faucet with a kit or parts from your local hardware store or replace the entire fixture. You can always call a plumber to help with any of the tasks that are beyond your skill or comfort level.
Toilet leaks might be the most common. The flushing mechanism has a tendency to fail over time as the rubberized gaskets decompose and no longer seat properly to prevent leaks from the tank. That’s the main reason we hear water running constantly in a bathroom. This is an inexpensive and easy repair.
There is one easy test to determine if you have any small leaks in your home. Check your water meter (usually located in the front yard of the home) and look to see if the tiny pinwheel is dial is moving when all of the water is shut off in the home. If the answer is yes, it could be that you have a tiny leak that you are not aware of.
Opposite the supply side is the wastewater that exits into the drain and eventually finds its way to the sewer or septic systems. The most common problem with drain lines is a slow drip under the sink, but on occasion, lines have become disconnected in the crawl space of a home and gone undiscovered for a lengthy period of time.
Drain lines are not under pressure, but they present a different challenge. The water is dirty and often carries bacteria and other undesirable matter. While a pan to collect dripping water of any type might reduce the mess and stave off immediate damage, this is not the long-term solution.
The moral of this story? While water may not squeak like a wheel, any leak inside or outside your home requires immediate attention. Most water problems can be repaired for $100 or less. Those same problems, ignored for days, weeks or even months, could end up costing thousands of dollars if the water damages your home’s structure or furnishings.
– Ann Hoke
For more information or comments, contact her at (615) 397-4024 or AskAnn@AnnHoke.com. Each KW office is independently owned and operated.