When you think of a burst pipe in your home, you may imagine a sudden eruption and an uncontrollable stream of water coming out of your wall. However, the reality is that leaks are often a lot more subtle than this and have the potential to cause a great deal of damage before you even realise that something is wrong in your plumbing system. Knowing the signs of a burst pipe or a pipe that is about to burst, will allow you to seek help sooner, saving you potential thousands in water damage.
1. Changes in water pressure
For homeowners, a change to water pressure is most noticeable when in the shower or when using the sink. If water feels like it is coming out more slowly (i.e there is lower water pressure) then this is a clue that there is a leak somewhere in your water lines. It is advisable to get in contact with a plumber as soon as possible, so the source of the leak can be located. Low water pressure also means that it is more difficult to move waste along and out of the pipes, potentially causing clogs later down the line.
2. Water discoloration
If water comes out of your faucets in a brownish colour, this means that there is a build up of rust in your pipes and it is contaminating the water. This build up is dangerous as it increases the water pressure in the pipes and can cause a leak later on. A plumber will be able to remove this internal residue.
3. Strange smells
The lack of water pressure pressure caused by a leak will mean it is more difficult for waste products to be moved along your pipes and disposed of. The subsequent accumulation off sewage in your pipes will give off an unpleasant odor and is a sign of a crack somewhere in your plumbing system.
4. Puddles and standing water
An unexplained accumulation of water under your sink or next to your bath is a big clue that there is leakage within your plumbing system. Following this water will lead you to the compromised pipe. Similarly, if puddles or sinkholes start appearing in your garden, it is likely to be due to a burst water main. A plumber will be needed to inspect the damage further.
Pipes in your home often run behind dry walls, and if there is a leak of some sort, the water will dampen the wall and change its colour. In a multistorey home, the watermarks may appear on the ceiling, as the pipes run vertically. A plumber will be required to locate the exact position of the leaking pipe, and he may be required to remove part of the dry wall.
6. Increased water bill
If your water bills are increasing significantly and you haven’t changed your water usage habits, then there is a good chance that an internal leak is responsible. One way of testing this is by checking your water meter -does it still move when there isn’t any water being used in the house?
7.Change to pipe appearance
For pipes that are not covered by walls, like those found in a garage or basement, it is possible to tell their condition from their outward appearance. For example, if the pipe is bulging or has ice/condensation on the exterior, it would suggest that the water inside is freezing. The freezing and expansion of water inside the pipe causes high pressure and can eventually cause a fracture.