3 Signs of a Water Leak Every Homeowner Should Know

Tips for Detecting Water Leaks at Home

Water leaks are one of the most common and insidious plumbing issues homeowners can face. The EPA estimates that an average household can lose as much as 10,000 gallons of water to leaks every year - that’s not just a lot of wasted water, it’s also a lot of wasted money. But leaks can also damage the home or its foundation, degrade indoor air quality by facilitating mold growth, and attract pests, so it behooves every homeowner to find and fix any leaks as quickly as possible.

The trouble is that leaks aren’t always easy to spot. Some reveal themselves through obvious signs like mold and mildew growth, evidence of water damage (discoloration, warped wood or drywall, bubbling or peeling wallpaper/paint, etc.), or even a puddle of water under a pipe. But other leaks, hidden behind walls or underground, only leave subtler hints of their existence. This article will outline three common signs of a hidden water leak that often gets overlooked.

Running Water Sounds

The first clue that the home may have a hidden water leak is the sound of running water when no plumbing fixtures are in use. This is typically described as a muffled hissing or rushing sound coming from somewhere in the house. If the home’s faucets are off and appliances like dishwashers are not running, no water should be actively flowing through the home’s supply lines. If there’s a leak, water will continue to flow through the pipes, sometimes quite noisily.

Running water sounds can not only alert homeowners to the presence of a leak but may also indicate the general vicinity of the leak itself. Unfortunately, very slow leaks aren’t likely to make much noise when running water, so this clue won’t help homeowners detect every kind of leak.

Weak Water Pressurewater

The next potential sign of a leak is low water pressure. The water in a home’s supply lines is kept under constant pressure so it can be instantly available whenever a faucet or fixture is opened. If there’s a leak, some of that pressure will escape through the opening along with the water, resulting in weak water pressure. There will also be less water reaching the fixture, which will decrease the flow rate - while technically different from water pressure, both amount to the same thing in a practical sense: a weak flow of water.

Low water pressure can also be caused by other issues, such as a partially closed valve, faulty pressure regulator, or mineral deposits inside the pipes. It’s best to have a professional plumber diagnose water pressure issues.

Unusually High Water Bills

billsFinally, higher water bills can also point to a hidden water leak in the home. Unfortunately, the water meter doesn’t distinguish between water used and water lost to leaks - and neither does the utility company. As water leaks out of the pipes, the meter will keep on ticking.

However, homeowners can use that fact to their advantage by running a simple test. First, they can ensure that no faucets or fixtures are used anywhere in the home. Then they can go to their water meter and write down the number displayed on its face, which signifies the amount of water used in a given period. Then they can wait for about an hour (without water) and check the meter again. If the number has gone up, there’s almost certainly a leak.

Even a relatively minor water leak can dramatically increase utility costs and cause significant water damage, so if homeowners determine that they have a leak using any of the above clues, the next step is to call a professional plumber or leak detection service soon as possible. Professionals can pinpoint the exact location of the leak, determine the root cause, and repair it quickly - as well as offer advice for preventing future leaks.

About A&A Plumbing

The experts at A&A Plumbing have been proud to serve San Antonio and the surrounding areas since 2007. As a BBB-accredited company, their personalized approach, cost-effective solutions, and industry-leading expertise have earned them a 5-star HomeAdvisor rating and ServiceTitan’s prestigious Titan of the Year Finalist Award. Their financing options and membership plans make it easy for homeowners to get the plumbing services they need without breaking the bank - so call A&A for leak detection in San Antonio, TX, today!

Go Back to School with Plumbing Basics

Learn About Your Home's Plumbing

Home plumbing systems connect the home's plumbing fixtures such as sinks, showers, washing machines, and pools to the main water line. Professional plumbers undergo years of rigorous training in the classroom and on the field as apprentices to learn how to service plumbing systems. Homeowners should also have basic knowledge of their home's plumbing to properly maintain their system.

Knowing how the plumbing system works, what kind of maintenance it needs, and the warning signs that something is wrong can help homeowners to save money in the long run. A small plumbing issue can usually be quickly resolved, but leaving it in a state of disrepair can lead to expensive property damage and complicated repairs if it worsens. Learning about plumbing systems has a lot of benefits for homeowners.

The Main Water Supply

The complicated network of pipes and plumbing fixtures in a home connects to one main water source. Most people rely on city water, but rural homeowners often have well water.

A water meter measures how much water enters the home's plumbing. This meter is used to troubleshoot plumbing issues and for utility companies to bill for the amount of water being used. A damaged, leaking, or malfunctioning water meter can lead to higher utility bills, water damage, and low water pressure.

The water meter also has the main shut-off valve that cuts off the water supply for the whole home. Plumbers use the main shut-off valve to stop the water flow and safely service the plumbing system.

Water exits the home through drains in the plumbing fixtures. Once the water enters the drain, it travels to the city sewer or a septic tank. The pipes that carry wastewater away to be disposed of are called the sewer line.

Common Plumbing Fixtures

shower

  • Showers
  • Bathtubs
  • Sinks
  • Faucets
  • Toilets
  • Dishwashers
  • Clothes washers

These are the main plumbing fixtures that are found in most homes. Some homes also have outside plumbing fixtures such as pools, hot tubs, fountains, and sprinkler systems. Properly maintaining plumbing fixtures by keeping them clean and replacing outdated parts helps improve the plumbing system's longevity and performance.

New plumbing fixtures are more eco-friendly and water-saving than ever before. Homeowners can save money on utility bills by replacing old plumbing fixtures with new, energy-efficient models. Saving water is good for homeowners' wallets and for the environment.

Plumbing Maintenance

water meterHaving a maintenance schedule can positively impact a home's plumbing system. Homeowners can lengthen the lifespan of their plumbing fixtures, save money on utilities, and prevent plumbing disasters by doing bi-annual maintenance. Drain cleaning services are one example of a beneficial maintenance service that homeowners can invest in to improve their plumbing performance.

Water heaters provide essential hot water for cleaning, bathing, and other daily tasks. When the water heater works, natural minerals such as calcium and magnesium in water separate into solid sediments. Over time these sediments build up and can cause corrosion. During maintenance appointments, plumbers drain water heaters safely and flush water heater tanks out to remove sediment buildup.

Plumbing maintenance should always be done by a qualified professional. During maintenance appointments, the plumber will have a chance to inspect the plumbing for signs of damage or malfunction that the homeowner may not know to look for. Benefits of hiring a professional plumber for routine maintenance include:

  • Improved safety
  • Less time spent on maintenance
  • Getting professional advice on how to improve plumbing performance

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing provides the personalized service that homeowners can count on in San Antonio, TX. Since 2007, their community has trusted this locally-owned plumbing company to provide expert plumbing services with honesty and integrity. Call them today to schedule an appointment for plumbing maintenance or repairs in San Antonio, TX!

All About Trenchless Pipe Repairs

What Are Trenchless Pipe Repairs, and Why Are They Important?

Trenchless repairs are common sewer line repairs that are minimally invasive. For areas that are hard to reach, a trenchless pipe repair is fast, convenient, and quick. There are different ways to use a trenchless pipe repair efficiently, though. 

For example, some plumbing experts create solutions and pipe repairs while creating a trench around the pipes. Some products work by tightening around the pipe as a quick and temporary repair. Homeowners should leave large pipe repairs to experts as they have more experience. 

pipeHow to Repair a Trenchless Pipe

Using a trenchless pipe repair has never been easier. Although this method has been around since the early 1970s, it has changed a lot. No longer are plumbing experts and contractors digging up yards and creating messes. Instead, of using a construction permit and a small camera, professionals can easily use trenchless pipe repairs.

For pipe bursting, experts work hard to add a high-density polyethylene pipe over the sewer line. The great thing about a high-density pipe is that these pipes last about 50 years, sometimes even longer! Slip lining is another common repair method that works by slipping in a smaller pipe with a larger material. This repair method is only for pipes added before the 1940s. The water flow is strictly restricted once this pipe is added.

The most popular trenchless pipe repair method is the Cured-in-Place Pipe (CIPP) method. This method uses epoxy resin and an absorbent tube to create a new pipe on the spot around the older broken pipe. It does take time to cure but is a strong material once complete.

Common Problems Caused by Broken Pipes

There are a lot of problems that cause a broken pipe that a trenchless pipe repair can fix. For example, the most common problem is rust or corrosion. Over time, and because of acid and mineral buildup, pipes rust and break apart. When this occurs, plumbing experts can use their knowledge and tools to repair it with a trenchless pipe repair.

Usually, as trees grow, the roots and the bark can snap through the pipes, causing large holes and tears. For quick repair and to minimize damage and the foul odor produced by sewer lines, call a trenchless sewer line repair specialist as soon as possible. 

This type of repair is also flexible. Sewer line pipes can be any material, including clay, lead, plastic, and cast iron. This minimally invasive repair method makes cracks in these materials easily repairable.

What Are the Positives of Trenchless Pipe Repairs?save

When repairing or replacing a pipe with a trenchless method, homeowners should know the benefits. For starters, trenchless repairs remove the need for expensive and damaging excavations. That means there won’t be a need to replace landscaping in addition to plumbing, helping homeowners save money. 

Similarly, by addressing the specific cause of the problem, homeowners will enjoy peace of mind knowing they’re getting a long-lasting and effective fix. Of course, it’s always best to work with a professional plumbing company to determine whether or not the method is right for the home. 

About A&A Plumbing

Since 2007, A&A Plumbing has given its customers red carpet treatment with personal attention and comprehensive services. Homeowners can also save on plumbing services with online coupons and deals. Contact A&A Plumbing for pipe repairs in San Antonio, TX.

Why Is Plumbing Maintenance So Important?

Three Benefits of Plumbing Maintenance Visits 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses maintaining the home’s plumbing system. It uses a direct quote from John W. Gardner, the Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1965 to 1968: “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness…neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.” 

There is no denying the importance of maintaining the plumbing system. It keeps water coming and going from the home and is also key to residents’ health. A healthy plumbing system is a healthy home.  

Regular Upkeep Keeps Everything Running Smoothly

homeBy maintaining the plumbing system, homeowners can avoid: 

  • Clogs: Most clogs don’t happen overnight. There are usually small signs that become big signs over time. For instance, poor water pressure at first may seem inconvenient, but really, it can point to a clog. Foul smells from a sink’s drain may also indicate a hidden obstruction. 
  • High utility bills: Homeowners should have a rough idea of how much water they use each month. They know what to expect when the water bill comes around. An unexplained increase in water consumption (and, by extension, higher-than-normal utility bills) could point to a leak. 
  • Flooding: Flooding is one of the worst plumbing disasters that can befall a home. This can cause mold growth, wood rot, and water damage. 

Maintenance Extends the Plumbing System’s Lifespan 

How long the plumbing system lasts depends on many factors, including what the pipes are made of. For example, copper pipes generally last 50 years. On the other hand, some PVC pipes can last up to 70 years. 

To have the home’s pipes last long, homeowners need to maintain their plumbing systems. To extend their system’s lifespan, homeowners should: 

  • Schedule annual visits: A trained professional can assess the plumbing system and catch any problems before they become expensive. 
  • Promptly address any leaks. Leaks don’t go away on their own. They only cause more damage the longer they’re left alone. 
  • Remove any water-damaged drywall: Water-damaged drywall may seem nothing more than an unappealing blemish. However, it can serve as a hotbed for future mold and mildew growth. Over time, these organisms can damage the home’s plumbing system, causing irreparable damage and threatening the home’s safety. 

These are just some considerations that can prolong the plumbing system’s life. They’re also

Being Vigilant Saves Money

save Nobody wants to shell out thousands of dollars to fix a once-avoidable problem. They’d rather catch the issue before it causes serious damage. Saving money is just another benefit of maintaining the plumbing system. By being mindful of any problems, they can avoid paying for: 

  • Underground water leaks
  • Burst pipes or water mains 
  • Damage to drywall or structural foundations 
  • Chronically breaking appliances 

Plumbing problems can go beyond the cost of repairs. They can also cause higher-than-average utility. Sometimes, the cost difference is so small that homeowners might not realize it. 

About A&A Plumbing

When a homeowner calls A&A Plumbing, they can learn more about maintaining the plumbing and access a host of home improvement services. These professionals offer same-day service, upfront piercing, and reliable repairs. Interested parties in San Antonio, Texas, can call these experts today for plumbing services!

How Plant Growth in the Spring Can Damage Plumbing

Spring Gardening Could Hurt Your Plumbing 

Many people look forward to new blooms of flowers each spring, but being careless with planting can lead to plumbing issues. Homeowners in an HOA may already know that their planting options are limited based on underground plumbing and electrical wiring. Homeowners should be aware of how the growth of plants on their property could lead to problems with plant roots growing into underground pipes. 

Tree Roots Intruding Pipes

roots

Tree roots are at least as long as the tree is tall, which means that they reach deep within the soil and can interrupt the path of underground pipes. When planting new trees, homeowners should plan their landscaping around the layout of their underground plumbing. Consulting with a trusted local plumbing contractor on new landscaping projects can help save homeowners a headache down the line from tree roots growing into the pipes. 

During the winter months, trees and other plants become dormant. Once the weather heats back up again, trees and roots can grow rapidly. These roots work their way into the plumbing system through any crack they can find. 

Eventually, the pipes can become blocked and result in a burst pipe. A pipe burst underground can be hard to detect, so it is best to take preventative measures with careful planting to prevent future issues. The plumber will need to repipe the plumbing to fix a burst pipe. Underground repiping is disruptive to the yard’s landscape and should be avoided. 

Warning Signs of Tree Roots Intruding

drainingUnderground plumbing issues can be hard to diagnose because they are hidden away from the eyes of the homeowners. Homeowners should be on the lookout for some warning signs of underground plumbing blockages caused by plant roots. Tree roots can affect both the main water line and the sewer line. 

When tree roots grow into the sewer line, it can cause slow draining as the water has to work its way past blockages of roots in the pipes. Slow draining can be frustrating and can even be a hazard to human health if dirty water containing waste remains stagnant in the home for a long time. On the other hand, when tree roots block the main water line, it can low water pressure. There are three signs of tree roots in the pipes: sudden spikes in utility bills, slow draining plumbing fixtures, and low water pressure. 

How Professionals Fix Tree Root Pipe Obstruction

Homeowners can help prevent tree root growth from affecting their plumbing systems by carefully planning their landscape around underground piping. When a blockage from tree roots does occur, homeowners should give a trusted local plumbing company a call. Professional plumbers have several professional tools to remove roots growing into the pipes. 

Plumbers use hydro-jetting to blast away roots that have grown into the waterline. Hydro-jetting involves using pressurized water at high speeds to dislodge blockages from tree roots. To find the source of the problem, the plumber may need to insert a camera into the pipes to find the tree roots visually. 

One can install a root barrier to prevent tree roots from growing into the home’s plumbing or foundation. Homeowners concerned about trees on their property expanding their roots into their plumbing systems should ask their local plumber how a root barrier can help. 

About A&A Plumbing

A&A Plumbing is a trusted local plumbing company proud to serve San Antonio, TX, and the surrounding communities with high-quality services from professional plumbing contractors. They provide personalized service for every call. Homeowners can depend on A&A Plumbing for friendly, professional customer service and affordable, up-front pricing. Give them a call today to schedule an appointment for plumbing service