7 Signs of a Hidden Leak in Your Home

As a homeowner, you know that certain plumbing occurrences indicate a more serious situation. You respond quickly to a running toilet, leaking faucet or standing water. However, some of the worst leaks in a home don’t become visible until they break through a wall or ceiling and cause serious damage to furniture, flooring and family keepsakes.

Because hidden leaks pose such a serious threat, many waterproofing experts offer leak detection services. These professionals pinpoint problem areas and respond proactively to protect your home and possessions. But how do you know when you need expert leak detection?

In this blog, we’ll guide you through seven of the most common signs of a hidden leak in your home.

1. Continuous Water Metre Ticking

Your water metre tracks your water usage. However, if the reading changes when you haven’t used any water, you probably have a hidden leak.

To check if your metre ticks continuously, mark the indicator on your metre. Avoid using water for an hour or so and check the reading again. If the indicator moved during that time, you have a leak.

2. Discolouration and Water Damage

Even before you see running or standing water, you may notice the effects of excess moisture in your ceiling, walls or floor. This additional moisture manifests as discolouration, warping or blistering.

If a leak reaches your ceiling, you may notice sagging or a change in colour. In your walls, you may see bubbling, blistering, peeling wallpaper, unexplained staining or flaking paint.

3. Foundation Cracks

Over time, as your home settles, your foundation may develop some cracks. However, natural cracks occur slowly. If you have a leak that puts pressure on your foundation, you’ll see new cracks appear suddenly.

You may also notice abnormal vegetation growth or earth shifts. If you notice foundation cracks, take immediate action, as foundational problems can compromise your home’s structure.

4. Foul Odours

If water accumulates out of sight, you may identify it by scent rather than sight. Smells that indicate a leak include mustiness, earthiness and staleness.

These odours often occur close to drains. When you notice a new smell, first consult with a plumber, as these scents can also indicate drain blockages.

5. Increasing Water Bills

One of the best ways to identify a hidden leak is to track your water usage. When you pay your water bill, compare it to two or three previous bills. If you see a higher cost without an increase in water usage, you may have a progressive leak.

If possible, compare your current bill to bills from the same season in previous years, since water usage often increases during warm months.

6. Mould or Mildew

Mould, mildew and rot require moisture to grow. While it’s normal to see small amounts of organic growth in the corners of your shower or bath, mould should never occur on your walls, ceiling or floor.

This type of growth may indicate a slowly leaking pipe beneath the surface where the mould or mildew first took hold.

7. Wet Spots

It’s difficult to keep your floors completely dry, and some moisture is normal. However, if you notice wet spots or puddles on your floor, you may have a leak.

Similarly, any moisture that seeps through your walls or ceiling indicates a hidden leak.

 

When you notice any of the symptoms listed above, especially if several occur simultaneously, contact a professional waterproofer or plumber. Active leaks, flooding and seepage cost you money, create health and safety hazards and damage your furnishings. Early detection is the key to proper waterproofing–don’t wait until a wet spot becomes a waterfall.

For more information about waterproofing, both in your home and your outdoor recreational areas, read our blog posts

 

 

Everything You Need to Know About Waterproof Sealants

In a bathroom, kitchen or basement, a waterproof environment remains essential so you can avoid a variety of problems. Mould, flooding and water damage can become common problems for any homeowner, but the proper materials and sealants can help you avoid these issues.

Many sealants exist, and they all have different uses. Here is a list of the more common sealants and their applications.

1) Silicone Sealants

Silicone sealant remains one of the most common forms of sealant. It is powerful, flexible and durable. Silicone sealant looks like a tough but flexible rubber, and you will often find it around bathtubs, showers, vents, sinks, windows and even on some roofs.

Silicone sealants keep water out of certain areas, such as cracks and creases in your home. The sealants can also withstand high temperatures, so you might also find them used for automotive purposes. They come in multiple variations, but you will most likely see them in the form of a caulk gun at any local hardware store.

Other sealants are more powerful than silicone, but the flexibility and durability of silicone sealants make them one of the top choices for the most common sealant needs.

2) Co-Polymer Sealants

Co-polymer sealants represent another popular option. You can apply co-polymer sealant (also known as clear sealant) to any non-porous surface, such as metal, glass or tile. The sealant looks perfectly clear, maintaining the aesthetic of the surface it rests on.

Unlike silicone sealants, co-polymer sealants are particularly useful on flat surfaces. You can even mix them with paints (both water and oil based) to help seal your walls. A sealant in the paint proves useful when you try to waterproof areas of your home, such as the bathroom, kitchen or basement.

Co-polymer sealant also resists mould. This ability makes it ideal for basements and other damp areas of the home where mould can grow.

3) Polyurethane Sealants

Polyurethane sealants represent one of the most versatile sealants. You will often find them in commercial or industrial construction and waterproofing, but they also have many residential uses.

Common residential polyurethane sealants come in caulk tubes, and you can apply it with a caulk gun. More advanced forms of polyurethane sealant exist as well.

Polyurethane sealants provide extra value because they adhere to most surfaces, including wood, stone, concrete, metal, vinyl and plastic. They also act as an anti-corrosive, useful for protecting metals. A variation of this sealant is also commonly used to coat hardwood floors.

4) Flooring Sealants

Flooring sealants come in many forms, but most fall under two categories: sealant and finish. The sealant enters the pores of substances like wood, brick, cement and other porous materials to keep water from entering. The finish comes as an extra sealant, in the form of a thin film, to add a shiny and attractive layer to the surface.

Flooring sealants often require multiple applications, but they remain strong when applied. You won’t have to worry about spilling water on your nice hardwood floors when they have a fresh coat of flooring sealant.

5) Bituminous Sealants

Lastly, bituminous sealants are one of the more useful sealants in commercial and industrial constructions. Bituminous sealants have an incredibly high tolerance of pressure and extreme temperatures.

As a result, you will often find them on airport runways and other outdoor surfaces, especially those made with concrete. Bituminous sealants also work well in large water tanks that hold several tons. In residential areas, you might find bituminous sealants on roofs to protect houses from rain water.

As you can see, each sealant has different strengths and uses. While you won’t find a single sealant that solves all your problems, an expert will know the right sealant for

Deal with Pool Leaks in 3 Easy Steps

Your pool is one of your favourite things about your home. You enjoy relaxing by the poolside on hot summer days, and you take good care of your pool to protect your investment. You practice preventative maintenance, clean the pool regularly and remove any insects or debris that fall in.

You know your pool loses a bit of water every now and again, especially on hot days or when the kids splash too much. However, over time, you’ve noticed that you lose more and more water. You add much more than a few centimetres of water to your pool each week, and you start to wonder if you have a leak.

Even if you have a leak, you don’t need to worry. Most pool owners deal with leaks at least once during their pool’s lifetime. Read on to learn more about how to detect, find and cope with leaks so you can get back to your poolside summer fun.

1. Determine That You Have a Leak

Before you act, find out if you really have a leak or if you simply lose more water to evaporation than you think. Start at the beginning of the week when you typically add water to your pool. Record the water’s height in the pool by placing a strip of duct tape or another non-damaging adhesive at the water level.

Next, fill a large bucket (10 litres or more) with water. Fill it most of the way, then mark the water level with a pen. Set the bucket next to the pool. At the end of the week, check to see if more centimetres of water have evaporated from the pool than from the bucket. If so, your pool probably has a leak.

If you don’t lose more water from the pool than the bucket but you still lose a large amount of water, you might need to invest in a pool cover. This can keep your pool from losing water during the day.

While you conduct this experiment, take care that no one in the pool splashes excessively. In fact, you may want to keep your kids out of the pool altogether for the week. Any water that splashes out of the pool could make it seem that you lose more water than normal.

2. Determine Where the Leak Comes From

If you discover you have a leak, find out what it stems from. Of course, you can always call the professionals to locate the leak if you’re unsure where it is. They might ask you questions like the following:

  • Does the pool only leak when you turn on the equipment? If so, you could have a pressure leak-the filter pump might put too much pressure on the pool’s plumbing.
  • Does the pool only leak when you turn off the equipment? If so, the filter pump could pull in air through the leak, which masks a plumbing problem.
  • Does the pool leak constantly, regardless of what equipment you use? If so, your pool’s plumbing might not be the culprit. Instead, your pool’s material could have cracks that let water escape.
  • Do you see any water around the pool, even when no one plays in it? Do you notice any dead patches of grass or flowers? If so, water could leak from the pool’s sides and edges.

As soon as you or your professional technician finds the leak, he or she can repair it.

3. Conserve Water

Now that you know what caused your pool to leak, you can take steps to prevent leaks and other forms of water loss in the future. Even the smallest leak can cause you to lose thousands of litres per month. Minimise your water bills and avoid future damage with these simple steps:

  • Install a pool cover to prevent evaporation.
  • Maintain your pool’s exterior. Patch cracks in the vinyl, cement or other material before they worsen.
  • Check your pool equipment for tears, rips or holes frequently. The earlier you can catch a problem, the better.
  • Waterproof your pool. A waterproofing expert can ensure that your pool stays airtight and conserves water all year long.

With these easy steps, you’ll be ready for a leak-free pool and several months of summer fun. Enjoy your pool, and contact a waterproofing and leak specialist as soon as a probl