You can hardly go a single day without being reminded that California is in the middle of a serious drought. Many cities have signs notifying you that they are no longer watering public areas, museums have disconnected their water features, homeowners are told what days they can water their yards, and we are all encouraged to dramatically decrease our water usage.
YOU might be water conscious, but what if your pipes aren't?
What causes leaks?
We often ignore our pipes and appliances until something goes wrong, but everything needs maintenance in order to perform at its best. That is why wear & tear and neglect are the number one cause of leaks. The second major cause of leaks is pipe stress, and this happens due to hard water buildup as well as overly-high water pressure.
How to find out if I have a leak?
So what happens if you have a leak in your pipes? How do you detect the drips?
- Keep an eye on your water bill. This isn't hard to do; you are probably already keeping your eye on that water bill since Governor Jerry Brown called for mandatory water restrictions in April. If you have, and your water bill still seems suspiciously high, you could have an undetected leak.
- Check your meter. If you suspect that you might have a leak, the best way to find out is to turn off your mail water valve and check your water meter. If the valve is turned off, but the meter is still running, you have a leak! Time to do some investigating and/or time to hire a professional to find where the problem is.
- Appliances are an obvious suspect. A lot of leaks are easy to fix and start with your appliances. The hose to your fridge, or to your dishwasher, is often the culprit when there's a leak, so they are a great place to begin looking.
- "The Nose Knows." Don't ignore your nose, especially if you smell mildew or dampness. Not all busted pipes gush, many can be a small leak that has slowly affected your drywall or flooring without you noticing. If you smell mildew or detect moisture, don't wait, those small leaks can cause a lot of damage.
- Water detection devices take the guesswork out. If you think you have a leak, or a leak is likely to happen, it might be a good idea to grab a water detection device from your local hardware store. They detect the presence of water, and send out an alarm, which makes them a useful tool against sneaky leaks.
Maybe you've tried steps 1 & 2 and found out that you do not have any water leaks. That's great news! But it is still a good idea to keep an eye on your pipes and appliances so a leak will not go undetected. Water claims are increasingly becoming a problem in California for homeowners, and insurance companies often require that water claims be reported within a certain time frame from the inception of the leak in order to be eligible for coverage.
Are you covered for a water claim? Do you have questions about your home insurance coverage? Call our office today at (714)482-9500.