You’re probably familiar with the most common sources of water leaks in the home like faulty roofs, toilets and pipes.
But there are other sources of water leaks out there you may not know about. And they can cause serious damage if left unattended.
Signs of water leaks
Before we reveal the five sources, it’s first helpful to know signs that your house might have a water leak. In addition to obvious signs such as seeing stagnant water or a water mark on a wall, other signs of water leaks include:
- Mold or mildew growth.
- An unusually high water bill.
- A warm spot on the floor, which could signal a hot water pipe leak. (This is especially common on concrete slab floors.)
- The sound of water running when nothing is turned on.
- Foul odors emanating from floors, walls, drains or sewers.
- Cracks in your home’s foundation. (This could also be caused by frost heave.)
Causes of water leaks
Here are five causes of water leaks–and how you (or your plumber) can get a handle on them.
The source: Your outdoor hoses
The cause: Weak connections or frost damage can cause leaks.
The fix: Inspect the connection at the spigot for any loose connections; if you notice a loose connection, replacing the washer can ensure a tighter fit. (Tightening with a wrench and pipe tape is another option.) If that doesn’t work and you have in-ground irrigation, it’s possible freezing weather damaged things. Call a professional for help with this one. (And always make sure to drain water out of your hose bib to prevent frozen pipes.)
The source: Your dishwasher
The cause: Leaks happen when water pools or the door doesn’t shut right.
The fix: A simple door leak can be fixed by replacing the dishwasher’s gasket, tightening the hose connection and checking to make sure you’re using the right detergent for your dishwasher. If leaks are still happening, call a pro.
The source: Your air conditioner or HVAC system
The cause: Some reasons why air conditioners leak include wrong installation, ice accumulation on the indoor evaporator and poor drainage.
The fix: A few DIY actions you can take include changing the air filter about every other month, making sure the condensate line is free of kinks and obstructions and investing in a dehumidifier if you notice condensation on your unit. Still, you’ll probably want to call a heating and cooling professional if you notice that your AC isn’t running well or leaking.
The source: Your refrigerator
The cause: The copper pipe that brings in water to make ice might have an unsecure connection somewhere. Other causes include a clogged drain hole (the passage that whisks away water from ice making operations). If your fridge is in an unheated garage, basement or porch, excess condensation could be forming when the heat from the motor mixes with the cold air.
The fix: You can try to tighten any loose connections by hand or with a wrench. If cold air is the culprit, seriously consider moving your fridge into a heated area of your home. If you suspect the drain hole, pour in a mild mixture of soapy water and ammonia followed by water to flush it out. If this doesn’t work, call a professional.
The source: Your washing machine
The cause: Weak washing machine hoses can break while seals on front-loading machines can wear out over time.
The fix: Replace your washing machine hose about every five years (make sure to buy a tough reinforced steel-braided hose) and replace the gasket on your front-loading door if it looks worn or permits any water to leak.
Added protection against water intrusion
Worried about water getting into your home and causing damage? If so, consider adding a Sewer and Drain Backup endorsement to your homeowners policy. It provides coverage if water or sewage back up into your house through sewers or drains, or overflows from inside a sump pump or other system designed to remove water that drains from your foundation.
At ERIE, you can get $5,000 of coverage starting at $75 a year. (Higher limits are also available.)
To learn more about protecting your home against water damage, contact an Erie Insurance Agent in your community.