We see a lot of water damage in the disaster relief industry, and a lot of it is caused by the usual suspects. Today, we’re going to talk about some of those often-seen leaks. While disasters happen, knowing the inherent weaknesses of your home can go a long way in stopping those leaks before they happen, or minimizing the damage in the early stages.
Here are some of the more common issues:
Hot water heater:
When water heats up, it expands. In fact, when an average 40 gallon water tank heats up from 90 degrees to 140 degrees, the volume of water expands by about half a gallon. It used to be that this water would just back up in the pipe into the city water system and that was that.
As back-flow prevention devices become the norm, such as those demanded by the building codes of Phoenix, the water which used to back up in the pipeline can’t go back anymore. So, a system can become pressured. A lot of the new building codes require a thermal expansion tank to handle that heat expansion. But, older homes don’t have that. They have a temperature and pressure relief valve. When a hot water heater starts leaking at the bottom, this is where it’s leaking. But, long before the pressure relief valve starts leaking, the pressure in the system-- the hot water heater tank, the pipes and fittings, is about 150 p.s.i.--enough to do serious damage.
Depending on where you hot water heater is located, and where the leak is located, the damage can be considerable if there is a problem.
A hot water heater should be checked by a professional plumber every few years. If it’s in a location where a leak would be truly devastating, consider a leak detector.
Even though pipes are built to last decades when properly maintained, outside forces can cause leaks. The pressure from the hot water tank (as we mentioned before), gnawing by animals (usually rodents), air in the lines, and even bad plumbing repair can cause leaks. These leaks are often in the walls and sometimes not noticed as soon as other leaks, thereby having more time to cause damage.
Supply Lines of Appliances:
Water-dependent appliances require supply line tubing, and that tubing is nearly always plastic.
Appliance supply lines and fittings can become victim to rust, calcium buildup, tears from mistreatment, and vibration issues. Flexible stainless steel is an excellent alternative. It doesn’t break as easily, and the pack rats hate it.
Overflow can come from debris-clogged sinks, showers, tubs, and toilets. You may have tree roots growing in your sewage line: the list is endless.
Tools you can use to fight back:
Everyone who lives in your home should know where the main water shutoff valve is located. In addition, if you have a situation that you deem risky, such as a water heater located in the main part of the house or frequent earthquakes, leak detectors can be extremely effective.
If you have a smart home hub, you can buy a moisture detector like the Samsung SmartThings Water Leak Sensor, which will notify you on your phone, emit a siren and lights in the event of moisture.
Zircon 68637 Leak Alerts also have an alarm and lights, and are battery operated. These can also be used as flood alerts.
The important thing is to maintain water delivery systems adequately. While having a plumber do a maintenance check on your home is an expense, it pales in comparison to a flood event.
If you have a flood event, call us immediately. We will come out and take care of everything.