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The 8 Most Common Causes of Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes can wreak havoc on your home, so it's important to recognize when one develops. Read on to discover eight common causes of leaky pipes, and trust WaterSmart to take care of all your plumbing needs when they arise. Contact WaterSmart today if you have leaky pipes or any other plumbing issue that requires attention.

 

 

 

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The 8 Most Common Causes of Leaky Pipes

 

Most leaky pipes develop as a result of one of the following eight causes. Recognizing and understanding these problems can help keep problems at bay, and also alert you as to when you need to contact an expert plumber like those at WaterSmart

If you have leaky pipes and feel like tackling the issue on your own, be sure to check our article on "DIY Plumbing: How To Stop Leaky Pipes For Beginners."

 

Advanced Corrosion

 

There's no such thing as indestructible pipes and none of the materials used for household plumbing last forever. Over long periods of time, corrosion such as rust can eat away at the pipes in your home and eventually create openings for water to escape through. It's important to know that your plumbing is at a higher risk of corrosion issues if the pipe was laid more than 30 years ago; the piping materials used at the time do not resist corrosion as well as modern materials. Your system could also develop corrosion if your water’s chemicals, like pH and mineral content, are off balance. A water softener is a good way to reduce the impact of those minerals in your pipes.

 

 

Corrosion such as rust can eat away at the pipes in your home.

 

 

Degraded Seals


Your plumbing system does not consist only of metal pipes. Wherever your pipes connect to a specific fixture, you’ll likely find an industrial rubber seal to keep the connection watertight. Like your pipes, your plumbing seals degrade over time, so if a seal cracks or crumbles, water may begin to seep out around it. Overly dry and old seals are particularly susceptible to corrosion, leading to leaky areas around your pipes.

 

 

Degraded seals are a major cause of leaky pipes.

 

 

Excess Water Pressure

 

The harder your water hits the inside of your pipes, the greater the risk of eventual leaks. In extreme cases, incorrect water pressure can even cause pipes to burst. More generally, excess water pressure causes fixtures to leak on occasion, especially right after you stop the water flow. If you notice this happening, have a plumber test the pressure and make adjustments if necessary. Click here to find the ideal water pressure for your home. 

 

 

Hard water pressure will cause significant wear and tear.

 

 

Fixture Cracks


If your faucet or the pipes connected directly to it develop cracks, you may notice an immediate leak. These cracks usually occur due to impact, like someone stumbling and catching themselves on the faucet or a child throwing a toy and hitting the fixture.

 

These cracks can also develop out of sight - like under your sink - due to the repeated impact of items being forced into the cupboard space. If you notice damage to a fixture or the surrounding pipes, schedule a replacement as soon as possible.

 

 

Look out for cracks around fixtures.

 

 

Incorrect Pipe Laying


Detailed plumbing work should always be handled by a professional, as many leaky pipes that result in water emergencies occur due to incorrect installation. Small mistakes that may not be noticeable immediately can cause massive amounts of water damage later. Because your plumbing system requires water to flow against gravity in many places, it’s important that pipes and connectors are laid properly and that backflow devices are used as needed. If you suspect that your pipes were laid improperly, have a reputable plumber assess the system.

 

 

Detailed plumbing work should always be handled by a professional

 

 

Pipe Joint Damage


Some of the most vulnerable parts of your pipe are the joints, or the bends that allow the water to be redirected anywhere in your home. These joints often consist of separate curved pieces that are attached to straight pipes on either side. Extreme temperatures and excess water pressure can be particularly hard on pipe joints. Your first sign of pipe joint issues may be abnormal noises, particularly when running hot water. Have a plumber investigate any banging or clanking.

 

 

Pipe joints allow the water to be redirected anywhere in your home

 

 

Shifted Connections

 

Over time, your home - and by extension the pipes that run through it - may shift. This movement can occur due to foundation issues, erosion, flooding, building settling, or even earthquakes and tremors. If a set of pipes shifts too far, one of the connections may break. If you notice any unusual changes to your plumbing after a storm or natural disaster, call a plumber. Symptoms like low water pressure, running water noises behind walls, or discoloured water could point to leaky pipes somewhere in the line.

 

Extreme weather can cause pipes to shift.

 

 

 

Untreated Clogs


Drain clogs may seem like an inconvenience at worst, but these obstructions can lead to serious issues with your plumbing. If a clog consists of corrosive substances, like household chemicals, it could speed up the damage to your pipes and eat holes through them. The danger of trapping harmful substances in one spot is one of the main reasons why you should avoid chemical drain cleaners; these solutions often do not remove the entire clog and may sit in one location in your pipes without moving for long enough to cause serious damage. Instead, have a plumber come and use a plumbing snake or hydro-jetting to remove the entire obstruction. Additionally, clogged pipes can be a sign that you need to install a water softener.

 

 

Be careful what you put down your pipes to deal with clogs.

 

 

Trust WaterSmart, The Plumbing Specialists

 

Leaky pipes are not to be ignored, lest they cause real and lasting damage to your home. If you suspect one has developed, you can trust the fully licensed, professional master plumbers at WaterSmart to fix it and any other plumbing problem you may have.

 

We have been serving the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and surrounding area for over twenty years. We have the know-how and expertise you require. 

 

Contact us today for a free estimate.

 

 

 

 

Sources: 
https://www.thecleanplumbers.com/got-leaks-8-common-causes-leaky-pipes/

https://www.thespruce.com/types-of-home-piping-materials-1824879
https://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to/a1053/4202333/

 
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