Leaks can be inconvenient, hazardous, and a threat to the structure of buildings. This is why people replace their gutters and gutter screens and send for plumbers. Bathrooms are some of the most highly-used rooms in any house, and they contain many different water fixtures. In this article, we’ll discuss what to look out for when checking them for leaks, so you can address any issues early on.
Begin With A Visual Check
A good place to commence your leak detection journey is by conducting a basic visual inspection. This doesn’t require any special tools or expertise. Instead, take your time to scrutinize every nook and cranny of your bathroom. A tell-tale sign of a leak is visible water damage. This may include discolored tiles, bubbling paint or wallpaper, or mold spots. They may even be a persistent musty odor, which is another indicator of moisture intrusion.
Also, the grout lines between tiles can give hints. If they’re eroding, have gaps, or appear darkened, water is probably seeping behind the tiles. This could be causing damage that’s not immediately visible. A visual examination helps set the stage for subsequent, more detailed inspections.
Seek A Professional Inspection
With DIY inspections, there are some limitations to what an untrained eye can catch. Professionals have the knowledge, expertise, and tools to identify even the most inconspicuous leaks. Equipment like moisture meters can measure the moisture level in walls and floors. Also, infrared cameras can detect temperature variations that are caused by moisture evaporation. Professionals can also provide advice on potential repair or replacement options.
A plumber’s visit is therefore an investment that can often pay for itself in the long run. Your best option is to visit the internet and seek a reputable local plumber. You’ll be able to enquire online, and read customer reviews before you decide. If you have leaking showers they can permanently seal them without lifting the existing tiles. Professionally trained staff can carry out fully licensed rebuilds and shower repairs, and deal with leaks behind walls.
Check The Faucets And Fixtures
The origin of a bathroom leak can often be traced back to the fixtures we use daily. Faucets, when used frequently, can suffer wear and tear. In turn, this can lead to drips or steady leaks. Check the base of the faucets, the connection points, and the area underneath the sink. A damp cabinet base or pooled water is a clear sign of a leak.
Faucets are quite easy to repair or replace, thanks to some helpful advice or online guidance. If in doubt, however, always involve the help of a professional plumber. Don’t just stop at the faucets, because other fixtures (like bidets or water heaters) can also be sources of leaks. Periodically turn them on and off, while watching for drips that could prove problematic.
Test The Toilet
The toilet is going to be one of the most heavily used fixtures in your bathroom. Its design will contain multiple components that can fail over time. You should first of all inspect the floor around the base. If it’s consistently wet or discolored, the wax seal might be compromised.
Additionally, check the tank’s internal mechanisms. Items like the fill valve or the flush valve can also wear out and cause slow leaks. Also, you should regularly listen out for the sound of running water when the toilet isn’t in use. This can be an indicator of internal tank issues.
Inspect The Caulking
Caulking plays an essential role in sealing spaces, and preventing water from finding its way into areas where it shouldn’t be. You should conduct a regular inspection of the caulking around your bathtub, sink, and even windows.
Old, deteriorating caulk (or areas where caulk is missing) can allow water to seep into walls or floors. In turn, this can cause hidden but significant damage. A periodic re-caulking, based on the condition, ensures that you have a watertight seal at all times.
Examine The Showerhead And Tiles
With time and constant water pressure, showerheads can develop leaks. This a waste of water that can increase your monthly water bills. It could also lead to other issues if it’s not addressed promptly.
Look for drips or a misting pattern, which might indicate that the showerhead needs cleaning or replacement. For tiles, you can conduct the visual and tactile test, using a rubber mallet to gently tap on them. A hollow sound could indicate that the tile adhesive has failed, allowing water to get behind.
Look For Ceiling Or Wall Stains
For those living in multi-storied homes, the bathroom leak might manifest itself in a completely different area. The ceiling below a bathroom – or adjacent walls – can display signs of a leak. This may occur even if the bathroom itself appears fine. Look for damp patches, discoloration, mold growth, or even warping.
These are clear signs that water is traveling from the bathroom to other parts of the house. This will necessitate immediate attention. Otherwise, your wallpaper could begin to stain or peel off, or electric plug sockets could come in contact with water.
Be Vigilant After Use
It’s crucial to maintain an observant mindset, especially after using the bathroom. Do you notice any unusual wet spots or prolonged dampness after a shower? If so, this can be a sign of poor drainage or a hidden leak. Pooling water (especially near the base of toilets or bathtubs) might indicate a failed seal or grout.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll also need to turn your attention to the sink. Run both hot and cold water to check for any leaks around the faucet, or pipes underneath. Pay close attention to any dripping or gurgling sounds in your bathroom.
Bathroom leaks can pose a serious threat to the integrity of your home, and the safety of its occupants. It’s essential to avoid collapsed ceilings or the danger of electrocution. By making regular inspections, you can address potential problems early on. You can avoid expensive repair bills, keeping your bathroom safe and functional for years to come.