What Causes Plumbing Leaks?

We all know that household leaks happen, and surprisingly often. What we often don’t seem to know is why they happen. If you didn’t damage your pipe, then why should it start leaking all of a sudden? Are your pipes faulty? Is the leak a sign of something gone horribly wrong?

Luckily, the answer to each of these questions is “probably not.” Most common household leaks are simply a consequence of age and wear-and-tear. Finding, fixing, and preventing these leaks is all about knowing where they come from and what to do before they happen again. We can help with all of that. Here’s what you need to know:

What are the most common causes of plumbing leaks?

Basically all pipes leak eventually, but several factors can speed up or slow down when it happens or prompt the initial leak in the first place. Here are the most common initial prompts that cause plumbing leaks:

  • Broken seals. Most of your appliances have seals installed at the point where water flows into them. Like any other part of a fixture, these seals can break or wear out over time. When that happens, some of the water that should flow into the appliance may instead leak out.
  • Clogs. Clogs cause water to back up, which places the insides of a pipe undue a lot of pressure. Over time, all that pressure wears down on seals and the sides of pipe walls. When the pressure grows to be too much for the weakened pipe walls or seals to take, they’ll break and create a leak.
  • Corrosion. The inside of pipe walls may begin to corrode or rust over time. This happens faster if you have hard water or particularly high water pressure. As pipes corrode, they can’t handle the pressure or force of water flowing through them. Eventually, that pressure and force may create a leak in a particularly corroded section.

How can you prevent plumbing leaks from happening?

The best way to prevent plumbing leaks from happening is to take good care of your plumbing. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to treat plumbing pipes well. Just make sure you:

  • Never use chemical drain cleaners. Chemical drain cleaners often seem like a quick, easy fix for clogs, but they’re not. Chemical drain cleaners can’t tell the difference between a clog and the pipes around it. If you use drain cleaners too frequently, they’ll eat away at the inside of your pipes. Eventually, they might chew through your pipes entirely, creating a leak.
  • Never use your drains as a garbage can. Most pipe leaks happen for one of reasons:. The first is loose fittings. The second is clogs that place too much pressure on your pip walls. If you use your drains as a garbage can by flushing things you shouldn’t, you’re far more likely to cause clogs that require drain cleaning. The more likely you are to cause a clog, the more likely you are to cause a leak.

What should you do when you find a plumbing leak?

If you’re lucky and your leak is just a loose fitting, then you’ll be able to fix it on your own. Just grip the loose fitting with a plumber’s wrench and tighten it to stop a leak in its tracks. Unfortunately however, hairline crack, fracture, and burst line leaks are a bit tougher to fix. If your pipe is actually broken open, we recommend taping it up and enlisting the help of professionals.

Professional plumbing technicians can find and fix any existing leaks in your home’s plumbing system. We’ll even take the opportunity to look for any signs of future risk and help make sure they don’t develop into new leaks after we’ve gone. A plumbing fix and inspection now can save you a lot of time, frustration, and money in the future.

Plumbing leaks happen. In fact, they tend to happen a lot. The best thing you can do if you’re facing one in your home is address it right away. The longer you leave a link, the longer you risk it causing further damage. By following these tips, you’ll be able to find and fix your plumbing leaks fast.