Leaking pipes can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare, especially if they’re hidden in walls or floors where water damage often isn’t noticeable until it’s severe. However, understanding the causes of leaky pipes can help you become more aware of where leaks might occur, making it easier to prevent them or catch them early.
Shifting and Settling
Houses tend to settle over time. This movement is indicated by random creaking or cracking sounds, but there’s more to worry about than just bumps in the night. Settling also causes your plumbing system to shift, potentially causing the pipe joints to loosen or come out of alignment. This can result in leaks. Furthermore, homes in areas of the country with a history of moderate earthquakes, like Denver, are also more vulnerable to leaking pipes for the same reasons.
High Water Pressure
Does water tend to gush out of your faucets when you turn it on? If so, this indicates that you have high water pressure in your home. This is usually a municipal problem and is also more common in homes at a lower elevation than the water supply. High water pressure places considerable strain on pipes and can cause the joints to fail prematurely.
Many factors can cause or influence pipe corrosion, such as age, water pH, water chemistry, pipe material, heat and the use of corrosive drain cleaners. As pipes corrode, they rust and become weaker. Holes can develop and weak spots can result in bursting. If your home’s plumbing system is very old and is showing signs of corrosion, like discolored water or rust spots, it’s recommended to have it replaced.
Freeze and Thaw
Winters in Denver can get very cold, and this can be detrimental to your home’s plumbing system. If your pipes freeze, they won’t always simply burst. The process of repeated freezing and thawing also weakens the material they’re made of. Damage from freezing may only present as leakage at first. The best thing you can do to avoid this is keep your home above 70 degrees in the winter, let faucets run at a trickle and insulate any pipes leading from exterior walls.
What to Do About It
There isn’t much the average homeowner can do about leaking pipes short of having them replaced. However, the problem is somewhat preventable. Avoid using corrosive cleaners on your drains as these eventually lead to pipe deterioration. You should also keep your water heater’s thermostat set no higher than 120 degrees to avoid weakening the pipes’ material. Check your exposed pipes for signs of leaks regularly, and if you notice any, be sure to call Sunshine Plumbing Heating & Air. We’ll fix it right the first time.