A Danger Lurks In Your Home Right Now… And How To Stop It.

What system in your home is most likely to cause serious damage if something goes wrong? Plumbing? A/C?

As a remodeling contractor with over 34 years’ experience, I can tell you the answer:   It is your plumbing system.  I get calls to fix water leak damage on a steady basis:  fallen sheetrock and insulation, ruined wood floors& carpet, soaked furniture, water-logged cabinets, black mold and worse.

If you own a home over 10 years old, you are not likely to have your air conditioner fall through the ceiling but you are very likely to have water leak damage.  It’s not a question of IF; it’s a question of WHEN.

Plumbing leaks are sneaky, often occurring when you are not home, or are so gradual that you may not notice them until you have rotten wood in your walls or ceilings, and termites partying in your walls feasting on the moisture.  Your water pipes are a constantly pressurized system, ranging from 60 lbs. per sq. inch (PSI) to 100 PSI.  An unchecked water leak at this pressure can dump thousands of gallons into your home in less than 24 hours if undiscovered.

Here are the most common sources of water leaks inside your home:

  • A pin-hole leak in your galvanized iron or copper pipes.
  • A water heater that decides to crack open at the bottom and flood your home.
  • Washing machine hoses
  • A toilet flange that leaks and rots out a wood floor beneath (A particularly sneaky one because you can’t see or hear it.)
  • An air conditioner drain pan that overflows when the drain is clogged with
  • Leaking cut-off valves or supply lines to your faucet under a sink
  • Shower or tub valve plumbing leaks
  • Drain line or P-trap leaks under your sinks
  • Backed up drain lines under your home
  • Dishwashers and refrigerators.
  • Frozen pipes

So what can you do?  One great tip is to buy some battery operated “water alarms” and place them under each sink by your water heater and Attic A/C units.  Anywhere water could collect.  I have about 10 in my home and attic.

These are inexpensive have a 5 year warranty on one 9V alkaline battery.  (I sell them for $15.00 at our showroom or $20.00 shipped to your door.)  Like a smoke detector, a loud alarm goes off if it detects even the slightest amount of moisture.  This alerts you quickly so you can turn the water main off to your home quickly and prevent expensive damage.‘Could be the best $15.00 you ever spent!

A 2nd tip:  Before such an emergency occurs, learn where your main water shutoff valve is located.  In Houston, it is usually near one of your exterior faucets.  There is always one atyour water meter too.  It is usually near the street at the front of your lot. You’ll need a wrench to turn it 90 degrees to shut the water off here, so find this wrench and put it in your kitchen drawer where you will regularly see it. Turning off this valve (by turning it ¼ turn clockwise) cuts off the water supply to the entire house.

These are your home improvement tips of the month!