There’s a cat outside our house that has been terrorizing my poor dog, which mainly consists of him slinking past our windows to tease my old boy. You folks really should see my pup. He gets up, runs around, barks like crazy, and then sort of whimpers until the cat gets bored and moves on. Now, for the longest time I couldn’t for the life of me understand what was making my dog so dang agitated, until my wife reminded me that dogs and cats are supposedly sworn enemies. I thought it was pretty funny that real life was playing out like some kind of cartoon, but it also got me thinking about what my personal sworn enemy is as a professional plumber.
My plumbing sworn enemy? Leaks. There’s just nothing about a house’s plumbing that irks a homeowner more than when a leak develops. It’s the one problem that I find myself working to vanquish over and over again for the fine people of Sacramento. But the trouble with leaks is that they aren’t always very noticeable. In fact, sometimes the signs of a plumbing leak can be easily overlooked. That’s why I want to talk about mold around the kitchen sink—and other subtle signs of a leak.
Most people don’t call me out until a leak has become so big and obtrusive they can’t ignore it, but before a leak turns into an emergency, it often starts small. So, pay attention today, and hopefully the next time one of your pipes starts to develop a small leak, you’ll be able to call out a plumber to fix it before it turns into a seriously costly and seriously inconvenient repair.
The Top 3 Common Signs of a Plumbing Leak
Here are the top 3 most common signs of a plumbing leak:
- Mold around the kitchen sink
- Musty smells
- High water bills
Signs of a Leak #1: Mold Around the Kitchen Sink
For most of us, there are certain parts of our plumbing that we see and use every day, obvious ones such as our shower, toilet, and, of course, our kitchen sink. When it comes to detecting whether you have a growing leak near one of these appliances, a keen eye is one of the best tools at your disposal. And, really, it’s pretty easy to do. It’s certainly far more apparent than paying attention to the signs that you might have a main sewer clog.
The easiest way to look for signs of plumbing leak is to just keep your eye out for mold. This includes mold around your shower, especially on walls that don’t often get wet, as well as mold around the base of your toilet and mold around the fixture of your kitchen sink.
It might seem like dirt that won’t wash off.
It might seem like dirt that won’t wash off. If you spot something like this that wasn’t there before, it’s a pretty safe bet it could be mold growing because the area is constantly kept wet by a steady leak. If you spot this, call a plumbing professional out to take a look immediately.
Signs of a Leak #2: Musty Smells
Sight, however, is not the only sense you can deploy in your war against my sworn enemy, leaks. You can also use your sense of smell. Certain types of mold and mildew might not be visible because they’re inside your walls, but chances are good that they might actually give themselves away by their musty smell.
Obviously, your sense of smell is always on, so you’re already likely to notice a musty smell when you step into your bathroom or get into your shower. But when was the last time you really took a good long whiff of the cabinet beneath your kitchen sink? It’s dark in there, so pipes are prone to start leaking without you noticing. My advice is, next time you go down there for cleaning supplies, take a sniff. If it’s musty, you may want to go ahead and call out a pro to evaluate the situation. There may be pipes down there that need to be replaced, a fix that will require a professional plumber.
Signs of a Leak #3: High Water Bills
The third and final sign on our list today is actually one that homeowners tend to notice on their own without me having to tell them to look for it: higher than usual water bills. In fact, if I had to pick one, I’d say this is the single most common reason that homeowners in our area reach out and call us to see if they have a leak.
Even if your water bill has only gone up by $10 or so, unless there’s been a local utility hike or you’ve filled up your pool, you should go ahead and call out a pro.
It might seem kind of obvious, but if water is leaking in your home, your water bill is liable to rise because your house is using more water. Even if your water bill has only gone up by $10 or so, unless there’s been a local utility hike or you’ve filled up your pool, you should go right ahead and call out a pro. It’s already costing you money, after all.
You may have noticed a common thread running through all of the signs of a leak I mentioned here today: Your best bet is to go ahead and call the professionals. Leaks may be our sworn enemy, but that’s only because we have so much experience when it comes to battling and fixing them. Don’t let water continue to leak from your pipes, raising your water bill and causing mold to grow. Call a trained plumbing professional now, especially one like us here at Bell Brothers who can give you a free in-home consultation. Your nose, your wallet, and your dry walls will thank you!
Curious about how to finance new plumbing—or even a furnace or window upgrade? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy Darrin Henry