An excessively high water bill, a wet spot in your ceiling, or a hissing noise behind a wall are all telling signs of an active leak. In many cases it makes sense to call Rocket Rooter to make the repair and visually inspect the area for possible future leaks.
So, what causes leaky pipes or fixtures? Generally, it’s not random but a gradual degradation of your plumbing system.
Here are some common reasons for leaking pipes:
Settling Ground and Tree Roots
If you’re noticing high water bills, but there are no apparent leaks in the home you may have a broken and leaking pipe somewhere between the water meter and the home. These leaks can be due to the deterioration of buried pipes, but more often it is due to uneven ground settlement shearing pipes at joints or tree roots growing in such a manner as to crush pipes. Leak detection technology can locate the pipe and identify the depth so that a plumber can do a spot repair. If the entire water service needs replacing trenchless technology can burrow under landscaped areas to install new piping without disturbing yards.
Pipes expand and contract with temperature variations, and every winter we service dozens of homeowners who wake up to the leaking pipes due to rapid or extreme temperature shifts – that sound of spraying water in their crawl space or behind a wall! Homeowners should ensure that pipes exposed to the elements within crawl spaces or within exterior walls are properly insulated to prevent damage and leaks due to temperature changes. In areas where leaks due to pipe bursts are common, we recommend installing low voltage heat tape to prevent leaking pipes by keeping pipes thawed during the winter.
Properly installed waste pipes can theoretically hold waste water indefinitely, but they are designed to continuously drain. A blockage in a sewer or waste pipe will cause water to back up in the system and cause increased pressure to low- or no-pressure connections such as toilet wax gaskets and slip joint fittings (such as sink p-traps) that don’t typically handle pressure. These joints may be a weak point for water to escape from. Regular drain maintenance is the key to preventing pipe leaks due to clogs.
There are many causes for pipe corrosion. Galvanized piping over time will rust, improperly prepped copper piping thin due to water turbulence, and acidic flux not properly removed from copper after soldering eats away at pipes causing pin hole leaks. If you are experiencing actively leaking pipes due to corrosion, it is time to consider a re-pipe. If a re-pipe is in your future consider re-piping in PEX. PEX is freeze-burst proof, and the material and labor costs are a fraction of copper.
Excessively High Water Pressure
All major appliances depend on flexible water connections with rubber gaskets. In time rubber gaskets become hard and brittle. High water pressure can prematurely wear out these gaskets and the internal parts of the appliance. The Uniform Plumbing Code states that building water pressure be at least 30psi and not to exceed 80psi. Buildings with water pressures in excess of 80psi run the risk of property damage and voided appliance warranties. A properly functioning pressure reducing valve should be installed at every home.