How to deal with leaking plumbing?
With the price of water increasing so much in the last couple of years, saving water has not only become important from an environmental point of view, but directly affects every household’s bottom line.
In this article we look at a couple of common leaks and discuss a couple of practical ways in which you can determine if you have a leak on your property and how to deal with it.
Know where your plumbing stopcock is
First and most important, is to know where to shut the water off in case of a burst/leaking plumbing.
You will be surprised how many people do not know where the plumbing stopcock is situated in their home. There are usually a couple of stopcocks in a house. The main stopcock that supplies water to the entire property is usually situated next to the water meter on the outside of the house.
Other places where you will find stopcocks are next to a toilet, close to the geyser or near a washing machine/dishwasher point. It is always a good idea to make sure that the area surrounding and inside your water meter box is clean and clear of plants etc. The last thing you want in a plumbing emergency is to struggle to find the stopcock and then have to battle with the undergrowth to close it off.
A leaking toilet
A leaking toilet can end up costing you a lot of money because the leak is not necessarily visible. Often the cistern’s mechanism does not close off properly after flushing. This then causes water to leak from the cistern into the bowl. Most people are none the wiser because there is no visible wet spot, but that does not mean that you are not racking up a large water bill. If the cistern persists with filling up after a couple of minutes has passed since you last flushed, then that is a good indicator that water is leaking out the bowl. It is best to speak to a professional plumber to fix the problem.
Plumbing leaks on the outside of your home
It would be nice if all pipes burst/started leaking in the open where everyone could see them. The reality though is that most of the time the leaks are hidden.
Sometimes the water pipe that feeds water into your home gets damaged, but you are unaware of the leak. These leaks often result in soggy wet patches that form on your lawn. They are easily spotted due to the fact that grass tends to grow wild in the spot where the leak is, so look out for large patches of grass that grow much taller and faster than the rest of your lawn or for marsh-like wet patches in your lawn.
As we mentioned in one of our other plumbing blog posts, geysers leak up to 8 litres of water a day. That is normal. It is however good practise to check on the overflow of the geyser on a regular basis
Check your water meter once a month
By regularly checking your water meter and recording the results, you will get a very good idea of what the normal usage should be like. If you see unusual spikes in your water bill then there might be a good chance that there is a leak on your property.
Another handy tip to check for a leak is to shut off all the stop cocks in your home. That would therefore be the toilet, the geyser and the washing machine point if you have such a thing. If you look at the water meter and you notice that the dial keeps on moving slowly, even though all the other stop cocks have been closed, that could indicate that you have a leak.
What to do if you suspect a leak in your plumbing
These days most insurance companies that specialise in Home Owners insurance make provision in their policies for fixing leaking pipes. It is always a good idea to get the insurer to send a professional plumber to inspect the problem. Often they pay for the initial inspection. If they do suspect a leak, they will appoint a leak detection company to pinpoint the origin of the leak