Sometimes we overlook minor problems because we think not much harm will come from them. The problem with that thinking is “minor problems” can turn into big problems very fast. And the unintended consequences of those big problems can cost us a lot of money.
One elderly man in Akron, Ohio found this out the hard way. He had a running toilet in his rarely used basement bathroom that drove up his water bill to a catastrophic $1,542 for one month. For comparison, his normal monthly water bill averaged about $40 per month.
How can a simple running toilet end up costing so much? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a running toilet can use up to 200 gallons of water per day. When you multiply that by 30 days in an average month, you can see how the cost adds up fast.
If the Akron man called a plumber to have his toilet fixed, the repair cost might’ve been just a few hundred dollars, or even less, depending on the cause of the problem. It’s still much less than the bill he received for his water usage.
Of course, a running toilet is only one problem that can waste water and cost you a lot of money. Leaking pipes have the same result.
How to find a plumbing problem before it’s too late
- You can hear it. In the case of a running toilet, you can hear it the water constantly running. If something sounds out of the ordinary from any of your plumbing fixtures, then something is wrong.
- Smell. Old water that accumulates will start to smell musty after a while. If you get a whiff of something musty in your bathroom, under the sink or anywhere else you have plumbing fixtures, get it checked out by a licensed plumber.
- Look for signs of damage. Water can be very destructive. Leaking water can cause very visible damage like sagging, damaged and stained walls. The stained area will look darker than the dry spaces around it.
- Feel around the areas where plumbing pipes run. Water should always stay in the pipes. Feel the area around the pipes in your home. If something feels wet, moist or damp, then you have a leak.
Using your senses
Finding plumbing leaks doesn’t take any special tools or knowledge; just using your senses and a good dose of common sense can tell you a lot about the state of your home’s plumbing system.
In all these cases, you can temporarily shut off your house’s water to prevent anymore leakage until a plumber can fix the cause of the leak. The key is not to wait until you get a massive water bill or your walls start falling apart. Get it taken care of as soon as possible.
Call the experts
If you suspect you have a leaky pipe or your toilet won’t stop running, call us today. Our plumbers are fully licensed professionals with years of experience. We’ll find the problem, fix it and make recommendations for ways to prevent future plumbing issues.