Common Water Leaks Can Lead to Surprising Problems

By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – June 5, 2012 – 1 Comment

Every time a toilet in our house acted odd and would flush constantly, or the water would continue running hours after anyone had used it, my mother always said, “Just jiggle the handle!” Magically, all would be well until the next person, when  the cycle would perpetuate itself. Of source, jiggling the handle never really fixes the problem, it’s just a short term solution and small leaks in your toilet, shower, faucet, or pool can lead to very large problems, damage to your house or property, and even larger repair bills.

You can find a Water Leak Detection kit on the American Water website that can walk anyone through a process from checking for common household leaks, to less common leaks, to outdoor leaks. Taking the time annually to walk around your home and check for leaks is beneficial in the long run. Allowing leaks to go unattended wastes water, can damage your property, and can be expensive, so to get into the habit of checking water-consuming appliances regularly.

Even a slow drip can waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. Many common household leaks, like those found in toilets and sinks, can be resolved by replacing flappers and washers, respectively, and making sure everything is properly in its place. Several uncommon household leaks come from the hot water heater, boiler, or water softener. It is more difficult to spot leaks on a hot water heater if you are not actively checking for them, since most are shut away in closets or basements (or closets in your basement).

The main thing every homeowner or renter should be aware of is where the main shutoff valve is in the home. The quickest fix for any leak is to shut off the water to the home. By doing this, you could avoid a flood. The kit includes a tag to put on your main shutoff valve, because if you subscribe to the notion that something out of sight is out of mind, tagging the valve could save you time in a water emergency.

Jiggling the handle will not fix the problem. Trust me; and Mom will be really mad at you if the toilet breaks right after you use it – even though you jiggled the handle

1 Comment

  • Ann Alfano says:

    My bathroom faucets started leaking underneath the cabinets and it created a huge mess! I had to turn the water off for a couple of weeks until I could get them fixed. I just had new WaterSense faucets installed. Wow, I should have done that a long time ago. The faucets are beautiful. No more leaks and I’m saving water. Thanks for all your tips Dr. Water. You are my hero!