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How to detect common tap leaks

Updated: May 18, 2022

With bills currently on the rise, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t paying too much for your water bill. An undetected leak from your taps can cost you a lot of money in the long run as well as cause more damage to your appliances or floors than it would do if it was sorted quickly. This post will help you detect whether or not you have a leak in your home from the obvious to the not so obvious in order to help you keep costs low and reduce heart ache.

Leaky Taps

The most obvious and familiar of all leaks is the feared leaky tap. While it is really common and a standard occurrence in taps over time, it should be dealt with quickly. A leaky tap can stain your sink over a long period of time and the problem will only get worse as the tap continues to be used.

While a leaky tap may seem quite obvious to spot, catching it early really helps and this is not so obvious. The simple way to test a faucet for leaks is to wipe down and dry the sink below it before adding a paper towel to the surface. A cup or bowl is sometimes a better option. If the towel is wet or the cup or bowl has residue in it, then it’s leaking. This is a fairly simple fix in terms of plumbing and usually involves just replacing the cartridge. This is cheap and quite simple to do with the right tools and a bit of know-how.

Leak around the base of the tap

Another fairly common leak is the leak around the base of the tap. This leak is a bit less obvious as it can often be disguised by normal tap use and it may just go undetected if you aren’t looking for it. This can also be impacted by the material of the sink as some materials, such as metal or wood, show water far more readily than other materials. This may mean that the leak goes undetected longer and it can increase in severity.

The clearest way to identify this leak is to dry the sink and area around the tap(s) and then turn them on. If water starts to pool, you’ll know more definitively this is from underneath the sink and not from another source. This can then be repaired with the most common cause being the o-ring in the tap drying up or cracking.

Leak underneath the sink

A leak under a sink is a big deal. This leak, left unchecked, can cause major damage, though, since this water has nowhere to go but onto the floor. Left unrecognised, this kind of leak can damage or seep through the floor where it can cause very expensive damage. It doesn’t help that typically, this is a spot most people won’t access that frequently. This is why it pays to keep an eye on your water metre if you have one for any sudden spikes or rises.

Start by emptying out the sink vanity and thoroughly drying everything off. Next, run a bit of water to see where the leaking comes from. There are two likely sources of leaks under the sink:

  • Water supply connections

  • P-trap connections

It can be difficult to properly locate the leak as it will be quite small and there are multiple different locations it could leak from. The previous paper towel method is therefore more useful here as it allows you to narrow down the location if you leave the paper towel for a day or two. Once located, it is probably necessary to contact a professional unless you have good knowledge of plumbing. Not only will this require a decent amount of work to fix, the actual problem can be difficult to properly identify so it does pay to contact a plumber as they can reduce any unnecessary repairs or damage you could cause by doing the work yourself.

Locating leaks can help save you money in the long run and it is a relatively simple process. All you need to do is locate where the water is coming from and then either identify the problem part yourself or get a professional plumber in to help you solve the problem. Both ways will help keep costs down and cost less overall than if you let the problem fester and gradually get worse over time. We hope you found this useful and you can find other useful plumbing tips and tricks below.

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