Leaks in your household plumbing can lead to a broad range of costly problems, including floor damage, mold or mildew buildup, wall damage, ceiling stains and damaged paint or wallpaper. While you can easily detect many types of leaks, some leaks are harder to locate and may produce damage slowly over time. With just a few tips, you can learn how to find and repair hidden plumbing leaks before the expenses start piling up.
Hidden Sink Leaks
Hidden leaks can form at the rim of a sink, at the drain or along the supply line that carries water to the sink. Potential signs of rim leaks include damaged sink caulk and a faucet base that’s unusually loose. Indications of a drain leak include flooring damage near your sink and stains on your sink cabinets. Possible signs of a supply line leak include ceiling stains in the room below the sink and puddles of water at the bottom of a sink cabinet. You can fix a rim leak by re-caulking your sink or tightening the nuts that hold your faucet base in place. Fixes for a drain leak include adding Teflon tape to the slip joint beneath the sink and sealing the basket strainer with plumber’s putty. Possible solutions for a supply line leak include adding Teflon tape to the compression fitting and tightening or replacing the shutoff valve.
Hidden Tub and Shower Leaks
Hidden leaks in a tub or shower can affect tiling, the drain or (most commonly) the shower door. Recurring mold and loose tile pieces are common signs of tiling leaks. Signs of drain leaks include loose or unusually damp flooring and stains in the room or unfinished space below your bathroom. Indications of a shower door leak include damaged bathroom flooring and mold formation on the surfaces outside your shower or tub. Solutions for tiling leaks include re-caulking of loose tiles and replacement of the backer board beneath the affected tile. Options for fixing a drain leak in a tub or shower include replacing the gasket in the drain flange and completely replacing the drain assembly. Options for fixing a shower door leak include re-sealing the doorframe caulk, replacing damaged door gaskets and ensuring that you close sliding doors fully while showering.
Hidden Toilet Leaks
The most likely source of hidden toilet leaks is the flange that connects the base of your toilet to your plumbing system. Possible indications of flange leak include ceiling stains in the room below your bathroom, loose floor tiles in the area around your toilet and unexplained water on the floor near your toilet. Potential fixes for a toilet flange leak include use of a small wedge called a shim to prevent toilet rocking, replacement of the wax ring that normally seals the flange connection and installation of a metal replacement for a broken flange.
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