Pipe problems in homes are common; chances are you or someone you know has dealt with a dripping or leaking pipe. Most of the plumbing in your home is hidden. While the damage warranting sink or faucet repair is often obvious, the source of a wall or ceiling stain or the sound of dripping can be ambiguous unless you see the faulty pipe. By understanding what may be causing the problem, you can know when to call a plumber and avoid more serious issues.
Here is our list of the top 10 reasons for dripping or leaking pipes:
- Clogs: A blockage puts pressure on the upstream part of the pipe as water continues to flow. The pipe material can slowly break down. Installing drain traps can prevent objects from washing down and clogging pipes. Depending on the clog, corrosive substances may be present. This is why we often advise against using chemical drain cleaners, as they tend to be blocked by clogs and eat away at the material around them.
- Broken Seals: Metal pipes are just part of your plumbing. The rubber sealant placed around connections to appliances keeps things watertight for a while. However, it can degrade over time. Once a sealant starts to deteriorate, you’ll notice dripping, condensation, or even puddles nearby. A failed seal will result in a big mess, so it’s best to call a professional when you start to notice moisture.
- Corrosion: Rust and corrosion can affect pipes as they age. Eventually, deteriorating pipe material can develop tiny leaks, often in the form of light dripping at first. This is a more common problem in older homes. If your water supply is acidic or has high mineral content, corrosion may be accelerated. Brass pipes are more resistant to corrosion compared to galvanized steel, which can start to fail much sooner.
- High Water Pressure: If your home’s water pressure is too high, it may be forcing water out of a pipe or seal. A common place for such a leak is a bathroom sink or tub. High water pressure can be caused by frozen pipes, overflow from appliances like washing machines, or high water flow from a shower. A shoddy pipe installation or repair can also affect water pressure. If left unchecked, the dripping or leaking pipe can burst.
- Damaged Joints: Pipe joints are among the most vulnerable parts of your plumbing system. Designed to redirect water in curved sections, they can be damaged over time by high water pressure and temperature extremes. An early sign of a joint issue is a banging or ticking noise. A leak can start small or occur suddenly when the joint fails.
- Loose Connectors: The connectors that link pipes and hoses to water-using appliances can become loose over time. Washing machine hoses are prone to loosening due to shaking and vibration. Dripping moisture or a puddle near the appliance can mean a water connector needs to be tightened or replaced.
- Cracks: A crack in a faucet, sink, toilet, tub, or pipe connected to it can cause a leak. Sometimes, items stored under a sink can be pushed against the pipe without you realizing it, causing damage. If there’s a pipe crack, it will only get bigger until a torrent of water is released. Dampness near a pipe or fixture should be taken seriously. Look for subtle signs of cracking and call for help if there’s damage or a leak.
- Ground Movement: Ground shifting due to flooding, tree root growth, traffic, and the rare small earthquake in North Carolina can cause pipes to move. These motions can cause pipes to bend, crack, or twist and can completely separate them in some cases. Drainage and water pressure problems can result in drips and leaks in other parts of your plumbing system. Only a trained plumber can properly inspect, maintain, and repair underground pipes.
- Shifting Foundation: Pipe leaks, big and small, can occur due to shifts in your home’s foundation. The water damage will get worse if the underlying problem isn’t fixed. Signs of foundation movement also include cracks in floors, walls, and ceilings. Call a professional if you notice these telltale signs of trouble.
- Improper Installation: Dripping or leaking pipes and some of the most severe plumbing emergencies occur due to poor installation. Pipes should always be laid and connected by a professional. Plumbers know how to install piping so that gravity does most of the work and can determine when other equipment, such as a backflow device, is needed.
Can I Fix a Minor Pipe Leak?
There are DIY fixes to stop small pipe leaks. You can use fiberglass tape, epoxy putting, a repair sleeve, or a slip coupling if you’re handy and have the proper tools. However, it’s best to have a professional inspect the pipe, determine the most effective solution, and repair the leak to ensure there are no further problems.
Contact Jay’s Heating, Air & Plumbing
Dripping or leaking pipes can lead to water damage and plumbing failures, but these can be avoided. Our trained plumbers provide prompt and effective pipe repairs and quickly detect faucet and sink leaks in Mount Airy homes. Whether a pipe or fixture is affected by a drainage or water pressure issue or something else, we can respond 24/7 and fix the problem immediately. For a thorough assessment and a customized solution, get in touch with us online or call (336) 962-5491.