Plumbing leaks are not just a bother; they are also a health risk because they encourage mold growth. The first step to keeping plumbing leaks at bay is to identify potential causes of leaks and deal with them. Below are some of the things that can cause your plumbing system to leak.
Water expands when it freezes. This means if a pipe full of water freezes, the volume of the resultant ice will exceed the volume of the original water. The increased volume might be too much for the diameter of the pipe, leading to the pipe bursting and spilling its contents when the ice thaws. Therefore, the risk of water leaks increases during the cold season, especially for homes with aging pipes, poor heating, and poor insulation.
Wear And Tear
Expect your plumbing pipes to last anywhere from 70 to 100 years depending on the metal. The wear and tear of the materials mean that they weaken over time. Weather damage, dissolved minerals, corrosion, and even temperature fluctuations affect the rate of wear and tear. As the material nears its life expectancy, it becomes more susceptible to damages and can easily leak.
High Water Pressure
Excessively high water pressure can also trigger leaks. For one, pipe joints or seals have a maximum pressure they can safely handle; the joints may leak if the water exceeds the safe pressure limit. Secondly, excessive pressure erodes the inside of the pipe and can weaken the pipe enough to cause leaks over time. Lastly, excessive pressure can even cause the pipes to burst, especially if the pipes are old and weak.
Clogging within plumbing pipes can also lead to pipe damage and eventual leakage. When a pipe clogs, the debris reduces the width of the pipe. The water then has to squeeze through the constriction, resulting in high water pressure that also damages the pipe. As discussed above, high water pressure is also a trigger for leaks. This type of leakage is more common with drainage rather than supply pipes.
Lastly, it's also possible for negligent repairs and renovations to trigger plumbing leaks. The risk is especially high for DIY plumbing since many homeowners don't have professional plumbing skills or experience. For example, you can end up using the wrong pipes, making ineffective pipe connections or using the wrong seals.
Hopefully, you won't have to deal with nasty leaks any time soon. Consult an emergency plumber at the first signs of leaks, especially if you are unsure of the cause, so they can plug it before further complications arise.