Several things can cause a plumbing pipe to leak. Leaks can be pinpoint in size or massive cracks that gush water. Big or small, a pipe leak causes damage to your home. Below are some reasons for a pipe leak, when to suspect you have a pipe leak, and how pipe repairs can be done.
Why Plumbing Pipes Leak
A pipe might freeze and burst in very cold temperatures or crack when the earth shifts due to soil problems or an earthquake. Since some pipes go under the foundation of a house, pipes can burst if the foundation shifts. Pipes wear out and corrode due to age. Tree roots can break open pipes too. Even indoor pollution can corrode copper pipes and cause pinhole leaks.
When To Suspect You Have A Leaky Pipe
The plumbing pipes in your home may run under your concrete slab, go under the ground outdoors, and be under your floor, over the ceiling, and behind walls. You may not see water gushing or dripping, but you might smell mildew or hear sounds of water running. If the leak goes on long enough, it could make your water bill skyrocket. You may also notice signs of water damage in your home such as wet carpet, water stains on the ceiling, or bubbles on drywall.
How Pipe Repairs Are Done
Plumbing pipes are made of different materials, so pipe repairs aren't always done the same way. For instance, copper pipes have to be soldered to make repairs. Plus, the plumber has to consider the location of the pipe and leak. This might require using a pipe camera or listening device to track down the leak.
A cracked pipe might be repaired by cutting out the damaged section and patching in a new piece of pipe. This could involve breaking up your floor or digging up a pipe outside to reach the leaking area. If a pipe has severe damage, the plumber may need to dig up the entire pipe and replace it with a new pipe.
Sometimes, patching with a liner is a suitable pipe repair option. This might be a good choice for a water main that goes under your driveway and would be disruptive to dig up. The plumber can insert a patch in one end of the pipe and pull it to the proper location through the other end. The patch adheres to the old pipe and seals the hole or crack to end the leak.
In some cases, an entire pipe liner can be pulled through in the same way so the liner forms a new pipe inside of the old leaky one without the need to do a lot of digging in your yard.