Plumbing Leaks: 10 Fast Facts

plumbing leaks

While a variety of malfunctions and mishaps may be a potential cause of home water damage, common plumbing leaks are number one. The network of supply plumbing that distributes water under pressure throughout the house, the drain pipes that carry away wastewater, and the various fixtures and appliances connected to this system present many potential scenarios for plumbing leaks. Here’s a miscellany of fast facts about the causes, effects, and prevention of home plumbing leaks.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that plumbing leaks from all homes in the U.S. total one trillion gallons annually.  
  • Leaks from household water supply lines account for most plumbing-related water damage.
  • Major plumbing leaks due to total pipe ruptures are most often the result of internal pipe corrosion or frozen pipes that burst during frigid winter weather.
  • Inspecting water supply lines regularly for leakage is a good preventive measure. Check supply lines under sinks in kitchens and bathrooms as well as those connected to toilets and to washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerator ice makers.
  • Pinhole leaks in copper water supply lines often appear insignificant. However, a pinhole can be external evidence of extensive internal pipe corrosion. Pinholes should be considered an advance warning of a potential pipe rupture that could occur at any time.
  • Sink and bathtub drain pipes aren’t under pressure, but can still leak considerable water at joints and seals. Look for drips under sinks and check out any unexplained pooling on floors around bathtubs and showers.
  • A dripping faucet is a leaky faucet. A single faucet dripping once per second due to a leaking internal cartridge wastes over 3,000 gallons per year.  
  • Dark spots on a downstairs ceiling may indicate plumbing leaks in a bathroom upstairs. Typical sources are bathtub/shower supply pipes or drain pipes routed through the bathroom floor.
  • Moisture from hidden or ignored plumbing leaks is a major trigger for toxic mold growth that can infect the entire house.
  • Note any unexplained increases in your water bill. They may be evidence of undiscovered plumbing leaks from a water supply line in a crawl space or other hidden area.

Tags: , , ,

Return to the Blog Home Page