Common Causes of Plumbing Leaks

Plumbing leaks are common, but do you ever wonder what is causing them? Small plumbing leaks do not always seem like a big deal, but water is one of the most destructive forces on earth. It has the power to slowly ruin your home if left unchecked. Finding a leak and what is causing it may be easier said than done, but it can be helpful to know to prevent future plumbing leaks.

Drain Clogs

Take care of clogs quickly for more than just the obvious reason. They cause annoying water backups, but they also hold corrosive materials that will ruin your pipes. We will talk more about corrosion in the next paragraph. A clog can also build pressure behind it can do some damage. Follow our advice on what not to put down the drain and install drain guards to help prevent clogs.


Aging is natural, even for pipes. They are likely to rust or warp eventually, which can cause leaking. The corrosive substances you are putting down the drain are bad for the longevity of your pipes. Older pipes are also less protected against corrosion. If you have a leak, think about how old your pipes are and you may have an answer. Sometimes they have just reached the point where they are corroded through.

Seal Damage

There is a watertight seal between your pipes and your fixtures that can wear down over time. You have probably noticed the rubber sealant around your fixtures at home. When that seal degrades or breaks you will notice the leak. These plumbing leaks show themselves as a puddle of water around the fixture.

High Water Pressure

Too high of water pressure rocketing around your pipes can do some damage. Your pipes are only able to withstand a certain amount of pressure. Most residential plumbing is only able to withstand up to 80 psi. You should only really have a psi between 45 and 70. A sign that the water pressure is too high is when the plumbing makes a knocking sound when flushed or shut off.

Temperature Change

We are talking about the ambient temperature drastically changing. We are all too familiar with dramatic weather changes here in the Midwest. If your pipes go from freezing temperatures to warm temperatures rapidly, it causes the pipes to expand and contract quickly, which is likely to cause cracks and plumbing leaks. This is less likely to be the problem, as most homes are temperature regulated, especially in the winter. But it is something to keep in mind if your furnace breaks down.

Underground Movement

Seismic activity can also be the source of your leak. Earthquakes can offset the placement of your pipes. Even a slight repositioning might be enough to start a small leak. Tree roots are another known underground culprit. Their growth can move and crack pipes underground. You will notice these plumbing leaks by a noticeable drop in water pressure.

If you notice a leak, make sure to investigate the possibilities of how that leak could have originated. This will help you to prevent future plumbing leaks and let you know how better to fix them. If you are unsure where the leak is coming from or how it happened, give Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing a call, and we can lend you our expertise!

By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.


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