With all the cost cutting measure around and the constant budgeting of everyday expenses, fixing a small leak is something that most of us ignore if we are honest to ourselves as human natures suggests it can wait. You may think that there are enough stresses out there and a small leak is not as important. In our own experiences, this is never the case as most small leaks do go undetected and can end up costing thousands of pounds, especially if your building/home is of a timber construction type.
As with most things, leaks normally tend to start out as a tiny dribbles which sometimes goes undetected for weeks, sometimes even months. My advice to you is; should you notice any type of dampness or leaks, have this checked out as soon as possible because should this be allowed to build up, it could end up costing you more money than you bargained for. A leak maybe caused by numerous reasons, but whatever it is, do not leave it to go for a long period of time.
There are some signs to look out for to determine whether or not you have a leak:
When checking pipework for any signs of leaks, it is important to keep in mind if the pipework is of a metal property i.e.: copper, iron, these types of pipes can gather condensation on the pipework. This is primarily because the outside air temperature is different to the liquid temperature inside the material. Always try to keep pipework well insulated using foam sleeves or other suitable protective materials.
If you notice that the area around you kitchen/bathroom tap is a bit wet, the first thing you could do it to wipe the area then check back in about say 15 minutes, if it is wet, then the chances are you may have a leak. Also check on the floor in the area around the face basin. Also, if you notice that you have a wet patch on you ceiling, chances are you may have a leaking pipe somewhere.
A good physical detector for determining a small leak is either leaving some tissue or kitchen roll around the suspected area or pipework for a period of time under observation, if you have access to this area.
If you have a water meter fitting to the property, you can simply turn the metre off which is the same principle as turning a stopcock off. (Please see my previous blog titled – How to turn off your stopcock - on how to do this). Leave the meter off for a given period of time (the longer the better), ensure that nobody else in the property turns on a tap or flushes the toilet as this would cause the water levels to drop thus giving you a false reading at the metre.
After a period of time, slowly turn the water back on to the property, ensuring that you keep an eye on the meter dials/reading. Any perceivable movement at the meter would indicate a leak within the property.
If in doubt, always have a competent plumber come and have a look at this leak with a view to repair it. It is best to try and go for a more permanent repair than a temporary one because as the name suggest, a temporary repair will not last. Maybe at the time you can only afford to do a temporary repair, that is perfectly ok but please remember to have a permanent one done as soon as possible. This will ultimately save you money because these things sometimes have a knock on effect.