Indoor plumbing is one of the greatest advancements made by the human species. From glorious showers and baths to the ability to run dishwashers and have toilets, it is hard to imagine life before it was invented. Even as late as the mid to late 20th century, there were homes that did not have indoor bathroom facilities. Today, residential plumbing is a booming business.
The problem is that, like every other system we use in the home, residential plumbing is not perfect. Pipes age. Leaks happen. Seals weaken. Some of the time, the leaks are minor. These minor leaks can include those in toilets, faucets, showerheads, and elsewhere. Other times, we have massive flooding.
While it is easy for many homeowners to concern themselves with preventing the larger problems and ignore smaller ones, that is a mistake. For example, the leaky toilet may seem like a small deal but it can lose about 200 gallons of water each day. There may be no easy way to find out if there are problems in residential plumbing, there are some ways you can tell.
- Your bills go higher, much higher. If you have been living in your home for any amount of time, you probably have a good sense of how much water you use every month. There may be some fluctuations throughout the year. If you start to get water bills that seem stratospheric compared to what they may normally be, there is a very good chance that you have a water leak that is hidden.
- Your water meter detects a leak in your home. If you are not sure how to get your water meter to tell you if there is some kind of leak at your home, you can call your utility company and get guidance on how to look at your water meter. You can also schedule a time for someone to come out and look at your meter. If you are curious about this it is always worth the call. Always. They may also be able to give you other ideas to save water in your home.
- Mold or mildew starts showing up in unusual places. You may expect to find mold or mildew in your shower you probably do not think you will see it on other showers in your home. Residential plumbers will tell you that if you see mold and mildew on your non-shower walls it can be an indication of a leaking pipe that is located in the wall itself. Mold and mildew love spaces that are dark and wet.
- Stains on your ceilings, floors, and walls. If you live in an incredibly humid environment, you may have some of this but for the most part, if your ceilings and walls start to sag, warp, or bubble, you may have leaks that are hidden. Leaky pipes can also cause stains to appear as well. If you notice these problems and have higher water bills, you may want to bring in an expert to check your residential or commercial plumbing for leaks.
- Your home starts to smell musty. If you do not see the signs of mold and mildew, you may still have problems with your residential plumbing. Often these problems are in parts of your home where they cannot be seen. When this happens, old water can collect in the walls and it can smell bad. One way to tell is to give your bathroom a thorough cleaning and if you still have a smell, you may have a problem.
- If your water tastes bad, you may have a problem. There are a lot of reasons pipes start to leak. Corrosion inside the pipes can cause bad tasting water. You can have your water tested to make sure other things are not happening with it but when water tastes musty, it can be a very good sign that there are problems in the residential pipes
Residential plumbing makes life better. It also makes us healthier people as access to clean water is a key ingredient in maintaining proper health. The problem is that many issues with plumbing and pipes remain hidden and quiet. The issues can persist for years but these signs can help locate pipe problems.