7 Common Household Water Leaks to Watch Out For

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A water leak is one of the worst nightmares for a homeowner. Every year, a typical home can lose around 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water due to leaks, leading to a significant waste of water and money, making your home run less efficiently.

And while some leaks are easy to discover, like dripping faucets and showerheads, some can go undetected for months or even years. For instance, you may not even know that your pipes are leaking unless you have them checked regularly.

An easy way to detect common household water leaks is through your water meter. To perform this simple leak check, you need to turn off all the water inside and outside the house. If during the test, the meter recorded water use, you may have a leak.

Still, this can only record large leaks and even then, you are not fully certain about their location, in order to address the issue properly. That’s why you’ll need to investigate and pinpoint where exactly the leaks are. 

But that’s just scratching the surface. If you’re suspecting your home might have water leaks, we’ve rounded up the biggest culprits that may be at fault, so keep on reading to find out what areas of your house is most prone to water leaks.

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Common household water leaks

A sudden increase in your water bill or a change in water flow in your home may be due to a leak. One of the leading causes of leaks is corrosion.

Pipes are susceptible to rust as they age. Consider changing your older plumbing system to newer models once you see signs of wear and tear. Pipe joints can also deteriorate easily since they represent the weakest point in a line. 

Serious clogged lines may also lead to burst pipes. The same thing applies to excess water pressure. It is also best to keep watch for rapid temperature changes, especially when it is freezing.

These cause pipes to expand and contract, leading to cracks. Loose water connectors and broken seals in your appliances are also common causes of leaks.  

Water softener leaks

If there is a leak in your water softener, it is most probably due to three reasons — loose water line connections, defective rotor valve or cracked bypass valve assembly. If the problem is with the waterline, this can easily be repaired by tightening the fitting.

Meanwhile, damaged components must be replaced right away. Leaks can also be due to a punctured brine tank or a worn-out rotor valve seal. To learn more about what causes water softener leaks, visit American Home Water and Air.

Water supply line leaks

Water supply line leak is one of the most common water leaks in the house. This is quite difficult to detect as the supply pipes are buried several feet below the ground. If the leak is severe, you will see water seeping up towards the surface, directly above the pipe.

Check if there are ground parts where the soil is constantly damp. Sometimes, the leaking water travels along the pipe and back to the meter box. If you see suspicious water in the meter box, this may be an indication of a leaking water supply.

Pool and fountain leaks

A leak in the pool plumbing the size of a pinhole can result in 970 gallons of wastewater within a day. Imagine the astronomical water bill you will be paying if this goes undetected for a month or so.

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Warning signs of leakage in pools include loose tiles, cracks in the pool shell and formation of algae too soon after chemical treatment. You may also want to check and see if the soil surrounding the pool is constantly damp. If you want to test if your swimming pool or fountain is leaking, try placing a marked bucket on the top step and compare the water levels after 24 hours.

Faucet, shower and tub leaks

The most common water leak in a house is probably a dripping faucet or showerhead. While these are not serious problems, they can waste an enormous amount of water if left unattended for long.

The good thing is that they are usually simple to repair. You can even do it yourself. First, you must determine the type of faucet you’re dealing with. Is it a compression valve or cartridge type? Your repair method must depend on the faucet type.

In the case of bathtubs, drain leaks are the most common. Often, the drain-trap piping has loosened, causing water to drip in the space beneath.

Toilet leaks

These are one of the most common water leaks in households around the world. Usually out of view, they can waste gallons of water and money over time.

Fortunately, they are easy enough to repair. It may just be that the toilet flapper or the flipping mechanism may be worn and needs replacement.

To determine if you have a leaking toilet, remove the tank lid. The water level in the tank should be about an inch below the overflow tube top.

Try placing several drops of food coloring or dye in the back of the tank. If the color appears in the toilet bowl within 15 minutes, you definitely have a leak.

Whole-house humidifier leaks

Leaks in your whole-house humidifier can be really frustrating. They are common water heater leaks for houses with forced-air central heating systems, where air distribution relies on ductwork and vents.

Since the humidifier is directly connected to the water supply pipes, leaks begin once the refill valve fails. The water goes straight into the sewer, making it almost impossible to detect.

By the time you do, hundreds of gallons of water may have already been wasted. During the heating season, regular checkups of whole-house humidifier is a must. 

Evaporative cooler leaks

Evaporative or swamp coolers are useful appliances to ward off the heat in warmer climates. They are also prone to water leaks that can stay undetected for months or years if homeowners are not careful.

Like whole-house humidifiers, leaks in these coolers usually occur when the refill valve fails to close.

To check if your swamp cooler is leaking, try shutting it off and see if there is water draining through the overflow line. Cooler repair usually involves the replacement of the refill valve or the re-circulation pump.

More helpful tips for homeowners

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Defining Home Improvement Terms: Restoration, Remodeling, and Renovation
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What Is the Average Cost of a Kitchen Remodel?

Written by Georgie Mihaila

With a decade-long career as a digital content creator, Georgie started out as a real estate journalist for Multi-Housing News & CPExecutive. She later transitioned into digital marketing, working with leading real estate websites like PropertyShark, RENTCafé and Point2Homes. After a brief but impactful stint in the start-up world, where she led the marketing divisions of fintech company NestReady and media publisher Goalcast, Georgie returned to her first passion, real estate, and founded

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