How to spot a leak - CBS46 News

How to spot a leak

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Even a small leak in your home, if undetected or left untreated, can lead to serious damage and costly repairs.

"For example, a leak behind a wall could require drywall repair. A small drywall repair job can cost as much as $400, not to mention if you end up with mold. A mold remediation job can be anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

It's always best to tackle plumbing leaks, even small ones, immediately. That's why it's important to inspect your home regularly.

"Easy signs of leaks in your house could be the fact that you have stains on your walls, if you have wallpaper that's buckling, or even a wooden floor that's buckling, or if you just smell a musty smell you need to have that investigated," Hicks said.

"We've actually had homeowners that have owned homes for generations and never been in the crawl space, but sometimes just a routine inspection of someone going into the crawl space and following the plumbing pipe and checking those pipes often is one good way to do that - to find a leak," said plumbing contractor Justin Dorsey.

To check if your toilet is leaking place a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and wait 15 minutes. If the food coloring has entered the toilet bowl without the toilet being flushed you know you have a leak. You can also lay toilet paper along the base of the toilet and flush.

"If it's leaking you'll begin to see the water wicking into the tissue paper. Or if it's dripping from the tank, it will drip down and hit the toilet paper and you'll see it," Dorsey said.

If you do have a leak you'll need to know where your water shut-off valve is located. If you can't find it, a reputable plumber can help.

"When hiring a plumber, a plumber typically needs to have a trade license, a plumbing license. You need to be sure that you are not confusing that with a business license. All companies typically need a business license to operate, but plumbing needs a plumbing-specific license," Hicks said.

To avoid adding extra stress to your plumping, check your water pressure and always protect your pipes from freezing in cold weather.

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