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No one likes to hear water dripping. It means something isn’t working right. Unfortunately, it’s almost inevitable, especially in older homes. A well-maintained plumbing system is much less likely to drip where it isn’t supposed to, but we’re all busy and sometimes we don’t keep up with home maintenance quite as much as we should.
Signs of Slow Leaks
Wallpaper peeling away from the wall can actually be a sign of faulty plumbing. Water-damaged paint can also indicate hidden leaks within the walls of your home. Other signs to watch out for include cracks in the ceiling, mold, and mildew, and puddles gathering around appliances. Slow drains are another problem you should address immediately. Damaged or compromised plumbing can lead to slow draining water in several ways. Your best bet is to call a plumber to locate the problem for you.
Unexpected high water bills may be the first or most obvious sign of a hidden leak. It’s easy to panic when a sky-high water bill comes in the main. Naturally, the bill can cause anxiety and keep you up at night. You may not feel better until you address the problem and start working on bringing that bill back to reasonable amounts.
Leaky Fixtures and Worn-Out Pipes
Leaky faucets are common culprits when you hear a constant dripping sound. You can test this by turning off every faucet in your home. After you’ve turned them all off, walk through your home slowly and make sure to spend a bit of time in every room that contains a faucet, such as a kitchen, bathroom, basement, or laundry room. If you don’t hear a drip, then you know one of the faucets is likely to be the source.
Worn-out pipes are a frequent source of dripping water. What makes it even worse is that we can’t see the pipes concealed inside a house’s walls. It isn’t always easy to pin down the source of dripping water. We can hear it, but finding exactly where that annoying sound is coming from isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Unfortunately, discolored areas on the walls, ceilings, or floors may mean that a drip has been going on for some time and may be causing structural damage. Call a plumber immediately to avoid any more damage. Although worn-out pipes are a source of leaks, there are many other potential sources as well. A plumber can help investigate all of those potential sources, such as aging dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters, and other appliances.
Toilets are one of the most frequently used plumbing fixtures in the house. If a toilet isn’t working correctly, it can have consequences that aren’t always expected. An overflowing toilet is a very obvious sign, but dripping water in the toilet tank isn’t as obvious. Tank flappers with deteriorating seals can create irritating dripping sounds. A cracked overflow tube is another potential source.
Sometimes faucets simply need to be replaced. Although this may seem like an expensive or drastic decision, replacing a worn-out faucet can save a lot of time and trouble at a later date. Visible mineral deposits from around faucets because the minerals in your water in Arlington, TX, can settle, and residue increases over time. We can see mineral deposits on the outside of the faucet, but remember that minerals could be building up inside the faucet too. If there’s too much residue, replacement may be the only viable option. Ask your plumber if you aren’t sure how to identify mineral deposits.
Even the most high-quality faucets wear out and function poorly over time. The typical lifespan of a faucet is around 15 years, but the manufacturer’s guide may give you more specific numbers. If you notice rust on your faucet, a replacement is almost inevitable. There isn’t much anyone can do to fix rust because it means the material of the faucet is deteriorating. Faucets with chronic leaks should also be replaced. If you’ve been dealing with leaks over and over again from the same faucet, talk to your plumber about replacing the fixture.
Don’t forget about outdoor fixtures. Check your hoses for leaks and test outdoor spigots by putting your thumb over it. You can use your entire hand, if necessary. Turn on the water and let it push against your hand to judge the water pressure. You should feel strong, steady pressure. A weak stream with very little pressure may indicate a leak or a cracked pipe. Leaking hose bibbs aren’t always easy to fix. Temporary DIY repairs can cover up larger problems. Eventually, the components making up your hose pipe could fail completely, which can create a mess and a lot of wasted water. Water leaking outside may not seem like a big deal, but it can raise your water bill and even cause soil erosion around your home. Call your plumber to handle the problem quickly and efficiently.
Roofs, Gutters, and Weather
Sometimes it’s preferable to think of a dripping noise as a consequence of the plumbing, but the roof is another possibility. Roofs don’t last forever, and a leaking roof isn’t an uncommon problem. It isn’t a problem for your plumber, but you should always check the roof and rule it out if you aren’t sure where a leak is coming from. Check the gutters too. Overflowing gutters can also lead to water damage because water splashing out of the sides leaves stains, and the gutter system itself could begin to sag under the weight of water-soaked debris. It isn’t good when you see plants growing out of your gutter. That means there’s enough build-up to provide nutrient-rich soil and water that lets those little seedlings get a healthy start in life.
Temperature fluctuations can lead to condensation on the outside of plumbing pipes and fixtures. Some people describe this as sweating. It’s not uncommon to see condensation on windows, but anytime you’re seeing liquid collecting on the inside of your windows, it could also be happening on your pipes too. This is a more common problem in summer, but it can occur during winter in Arlington, TX, as well.
Water Meters and Bills
A water meter is a good place to start looking when you’re figuring out a high water bill. Older water meters in Arlington, TX, can be unreliable and come up with erratic measurements. If the water meter is demonstrably inaccurate, you may be able to get a refund on your water bill, although that depends on many factors. You should definitely get a new water meter installed as soon as possible so you can get accurate readings again. It’s easier to see if the water meter is working properly if you understand how to read the meter. Your plumber can help you with this task and explain how to interpret the data.
If you really are using more water than you thought, it may be time to examine household habits. Ask your plumber about water-saving fixtures. Make sure appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher are full before running them. This may seem obvious, but there’s a lot of room to wastewater if people in the house aren’t paying attention to these things. Sometimes you may not realize that a problem exists until you call a plumber. Ghost flushes, or the toilet flushing when no one is using it, can waste a lot of water and the household may not even be aware of it. Hearing a toilet flush doesn’t usually sound suspicious. We just assume someone in the house is using it, but that may not always be the case.
Mold and Moisture
Mold is one of the most stubborn and potentially damaging problems caused by water where it isn’t supposed to be. The most common mold hotspots are the places where we use a lot of water, such as the kitchen, bathroom, basement and laundry room. However, mold and mildew appear anywhere water builds up. If you see mold and mildew in unexpected places, you need to call a plumber and find out why.
Ventilation and circulating air make a huge difference where mold and mildew are concerned. Hot showers and baths create lots of condensation and raise the humidity level of the room significantly. The effect is more concentrated in smaller rooms. This can lead to problems if you don’t do anything to counteract the increased moisture. You can try cracking open the door to let some of the steam out. Cooler air from another room will flow into the bathroom and let the moist, humid air escape. This isn’t always ideal because it can also leave the person taking a bath or shower with a chill. Healthy adults may not be bothered too much, but children and the elderly are more susceptible. Ask your plumber about possible ways to improve ventilation in your bathroom.
Tile and grout in your bathroom may be a problem too. Degraded materials don’t seal out moisture adequately. Cracks, even very small cracks, create opportunities for moisture build-up and mold growth. Some professional plumbers are also willing to evaluate structures and building materials in bathrooms and other rooms with heavy water use. You may need to replace or patch tile and grout if the materials have sustained too much damage. Sometimes sealants can be applied to cover small problem areas.
Do a visual inspection of your entire bathroom and concentrate on the plumbing. Listen carefully for anything that sounds out of place. Puddles around any bathroom fixtures are a sign that you should call a plumber immediately before any further damage occurs.
Although severe mold infestations will probably require professional help, you may be able to handle minor growth on your own. You can try spraying undiluted white vinegar on mold colonies. Let it sit for about an hour before coming back to scrub it away. Baking soda and warm water may be a useful cleaning solution as well. Plumbers don’t always handle mold infestations, but they can certainly point you in the right direction if you need additional help.
Many homes in Arlington, TX contain copper pipes. Residential copper pipes can last up to 50 years. The thickness of the pipe is the most important factor in longevity. If there’s more material present, it takes longer to erode. These durable pipes are very reliable, but nothing lasts forever. Copper is a strong material and resists rust, but it’s still vulnerable to corrosion. Hard water, or water with high mineral content, can wear away at copper pipes until weak spots form. Moisture leaking from weakened areas slowly infiltrates the insulation and building materials inside the home’s walls. Addressing weakened areas when they’re still pinhole leaks is vastly preferable to dealing with much greater water damage later.
Corrosive materials are the most common cause of pinhole leaks. These substances slowly eat through metal. It’s very hard to avoid corrosion when the problematic substances are contained in the water itself. Underground pipes also have to contend with outside sources of corrosion such as sand, sediment, and dirt, that slowly wear away metal on the outside of the pipe.
Pinhole leaks are very small and difficult to find. An annual inspection by a licensed plumber is your best bet to find these leaks early. Repairs are one option if you only have a few leaks, but you may want to consider the benefits of replacing your plumbing entirely. A home built in the 1980s or 90s is over 30 years old, and many homes in Arlington, TX are even older than that. A home that still has its original plumbing may contain pipes that have been functioning for 5 to 6 decades. Your plumber can help you weigh the costs and benefits of repairs versus replacement.
Call the licensed, experienced plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Fort Worth for assistance with plumbing issues in Arlington, TX. They handle everything from plumbing repairs and routine maintenance to new installations. Make your appointment today. Emergency services are available 24/7 for situations that can’t wait.