Updated: Mar 10, 2020
Leaks can waste water, raise your bill, damage your home, and encourage unwanted organic growth.
Most common areas around your home for water leaks
Plumbing under sinks - drain traps and water supply connections
Faucets and fixtures
Water leaking from under bathrooms
Water supply line piping
Plumbing drainage piping
Leaking under sinks
Commonly during home inspections you can find leaking under kitchen and bathroom sinks. Even in new construction plumbing traps can be leaking from loose connections when installed as you can see in video to the left.
Excessive leaking causing organic growth
Water leaks, flooding, high humidity, and condensation all provide moisture mold can use to grow and spread. If leaks are let go whether it be from leaking water pipes, under sinks, or condensation in areas around the home, mold or microbial growth will grow. Mold exposures have a variety of health affects. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Exposure to mold can cause a number of health issues such as throat irritation, respiratory problems, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, cough and wheezing, as well as skin irritation in some cases.
Faucet and fixture leaks
Home inspections not only identify major or costly issues, but can also catch smaller issues like leaking faucets and sink handles. More than an annoyance, leaking fixtures waste water and could eventually leak to where water should not be - behind the structure or on the floor causing water damage.
If your water heater has began to leak, it has likely reached the end of its lifespan. Your typical water heater will last around 10-12 years with proper maintenance. Though many do not think to keep up with their water heater maintenance. Water heaters should be drained of sediments once or twice a year to prolong its life. Check out our water heater maintenance blog for more tips. If your water heater is installed in the attic or on a finished floor, you need to have a catch pan installed beneath it. This will protect your finished flooring or home from water damage in the case that your water heater tank does fail and leak.
Plumbing water lines leaking
Water supply lines can leak overtime from corrosion, improperly supported lines from stress and pressure, and loose connections. Its common to see corrosive connections at your water heater if they do not have dielectric unions. This helps prevent the corrosive reaction between dissimilar metals. Improperly supported lines put extra stress on your water lines and can easily cause leaks when the water pressure is running through the lines. Again, even with new construction homes or remodeled homes, if lines are not tested after installation, water line connections can be loose and cause leaks after you've settled into the home and cost you more money having to tear up drywall to reach the water line connections and hope you caught them in time before excessive water damage.
Some common areas for your roof to leak are any roof penetrations such as plumbing vent stacks, gas appliance venting, flashings improperly installed, valleys where the roof sections intersect, and around chimneys. If chimney flashings and venting boot flashings are not properly maintained and sealed/caulked they are bound to cause leaks. More than half the homes I inspect have leaking into the attic just from not caulking or sealing the nails and fastening of the flashings. Chimney flashings are also not kept up with and will commonly leak as well. Improper installation of boot flashings will also allow water to divert beneath the flashing and leak into the home.
Water leaking under and around bathrooms
This leak came after running the master bathroom shower that was on the other side of this wall. This could be a water line with a poor connection or an issue with the shower drainage and tile. Bathroom leaks can also be found in two story homes under the upstairs bathrooms. During a home inspection, I always work my way from top to bottom that can reveal these leaks after running a decent amount of water from the upstairs fixtures and tubs/showers. When upstairs bathrooms leak, it causes damage to the drywall/ceiling and results in having to replace more than just the plumbing leak.
Example of a water leak that was directly under an upstairs bathroom.