Should You Worry About a Small Water Leak?

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated September 28, 2021
Three generations prepping food in the kitchen
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When it comes to plumbing leaks, it's wise to sweat the small stuff

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If there’s a small leak in your home, it’s easy to set up a bucket or towel and forget about it. As you probably know, though, procrastination can come back and bite you—and your plumbing is no exception. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to call a plumber.

What Causes a Plumbing Leak?

A leak can happen at any time and without any notice. Old piping, cold weather, and that old toilet you’ve been meaning to replace can all cause leaks. Ignored (or missed) leaks can potentially lead to higher water bills, water damage, or mold and mildew.

If you discover any of these issues, you’ll want to get them fixed right away before they can wreak havoc on your plumbing—and your home.

How Are Small Leaks Detected?

Are you suspicious of a possible hidden water leak in your bathroom? Maybe your water bills are sky-high, and you don’t understand why. Whatever the case, detecting a small leak is now easier (and less damaging) than ever.

In the past, professionals had to cut open flooring and walls just to find a small problem. These days, there are non-invasive ways to locate a leak. Plumbers can run camera lines through your piping and use special leak detection equipment to pinpoint leaks underground, all without hurting your tile flooring or freshly painted drywall.

A Small Leak Can Lead to Bigger Problems

Man under sink fixing leak
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You’re probably familiar with the snowball effect: small problems tend to get bigger and bigger the more you ignore them. Here are just a few things that could happen if you let your small leak snowball into a larger plumbing problem.

Higher Water Bills

A leak in your main water service can cause a ginormous water bill. If the numbers are higher than they should be, don’t wait for them to get worse.

Water Damage

Water damage from leaking pipes can get expensive, especially if you wait to have it addressed. Not only will you have to get the plumbing repaired, but you may also need to get your flooring, walls, and ceilings fixed or replaced. There are temporary fixes for pipe leaks that can prevent water damage for the time being, but you should still have them looked at ASAP.

Mold and Mildew

Water damage can cause mold and mildew that can harm you and your family. On top of the damp, dingy smell, mold spores can cause breathing problems and exacerbate asthma symptoms. This is why it’s key to call in a plumber before the icky spores have a chance to grow.

Burst Pipes

Burst pipes aren’t just a costly winter plumbing leak to avoid—they can occur anytime pipes become weakened. 

When it comes to a small leak, that tiny flow of water will keep running through the same section of pipe. Over time, what seemed like a trivial trickle can wear away at the pipe and eventually cause it to burst. So, if you’re at arms over a shower leak or whether you should repair or replace that leaky faucet, consider this your sign to take action.

Preventing Leaks and Water Damage

Taking preventative matters can save you thousands of dollars in damages down the road. First, keep an eye out for these symptoms of a small leak:

  • Corrosion on metal screws, nails, and fixtures

  • Condensation

  • Water stains on walls and ceilings

  • Mold growth

  • Damp, musty odors

  • Saggy ceilings

Whether you spot anything sus or not, it’s a good idea to schedule a full-house inspection with a professional plumber near you. They can examine the piping and fixtures throughout your house to find small leaks before they become significant problems.

 

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