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6 Signs of Hidden Plumbing Leaks: Don't Ignore the Warning Signals

visible water damage on ceiling

Most plumbing leaks in the home are easily spotted. A faucet may have a consistent drip, or you open the cabinet under the kitchen sink and find a small puddle. In this situation, you probably know to call a plumber and have them fix the issue quickly. But what happens when the leak is hidden?

Often, you don’t find out a pipe has burst inside the wall or ceiling until it’s too late. Once it’s discovered, the damage it has caused is extremely expensive. Then, there are the pipes running under the slab foundation of a home. As time passes, the aging pipes can begin to leak and damage your foundation. Since leaks can come from multiple sources, it’s important to understand the top six signs of hidden plumbing leaks so you can take action quickly.

1. High Water Bills

So, you haven’t recently installed a pool in your yard, but the amount owed on the water bill says otherwise. This spike in your water bills without any discernible reason can indicate you have a leak in your home. 

While you can watch your water bills throughout the year for spikes in usage, you can also follow the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations that state you should check the water usage for January and February. Water usage of over 12,000 gallons for a family of four is excessive, indicating there’s a sneaky leak hiding somewhere.

The best way to determine that a leak is the source of the high bill is to check the water usage when the house is empty. Before you leave, take a look at the meter. When you get home, check it again to see if it has moved. If it has, there’s definitely a leak.

2. You Look Up and See Water Stains

You know a water stain when you see it. The dark brown spots litter the ceiling and indicate a leak hanging around. It’s quite possible the roof needs to be repaired to keep out rainwater and snow.

But, if you have a two-story home and the water stain is on the first floor, it’s not likely that a hole in the roof is the root of the issue. For instance, let’s say you have a bathroom on the second floor and notice water stains on the ceiling in the bathroom right below it. In this situation, It’s safe to assume the stain is caused by a leak from the bathroom upstairs.

Once you notice the water stain, take action. The stain appears after the plumbing leak has been there for a while, so call a plumber as soon as possible to prevent any additional water damage.

3. Peeling Paint or Wallpaper

Have you noticed the paint or wallpaper beginning to peel or blister? This peeling paint or wallpaper is a sign that moisture is probably gathering behind your wall. A plumbing leak in the wall can damage the home’s structure. Remember, drywall and wood beams will absorb any moisture coming from the leaky pipe. Get ahead of the problem before the damage spreads and costly replacements have to be installed. 

4. Odd Noises

When the plumbing system is at peace, it’s pleasantly quiet. But, as soon as there’s a problem, it may let you know by raising it’s voice. That’s right, you’ll start to hear strange rattling sounds indicating a loose pipe or mount. Or, you may hear a strong vibration that signals a water leak inside the walls. When the faucets are off, but you still hear water running or hissing coming from the pipes, you’ll probably need a leak repair.

5. Low Water Pressure

You step into the shower and wait to be blasted with water, only to discover the water pressure is not what it once was. A reduction in water pressure can be a sign of a water leak in your water heater or your pipes. If the decrease is sudden and isn’t happening because the toilet was flushed, contact a professional.

6. Wet or Overly Lush Spots in Your Yard

Another major sign you have a hidden plumbing leak is if you notice isolated wet spots in your yard. For example, when the rest of your yard is dry but one section is wet, it could indicate a pipe is leaking underground. Unless this wet spot is on uneven ground or in a low spot where water naturally drains, you probably have a sewer line or plumbing leak causing the sogginess.

You could also have a plumbing leak if part of your yard is much greener than the rest. Since a leak will provide extra moisture, the portion of your yard closest to the leak will look more lush. If you have a sewer leak, the waste leaking out of the line could also be acting as a fertilizer that keeps a portion of your yard greener than the rest.

Choose Peter Levi for Leak Detection Services in Novato, San Rafael, and Other Surrounding Areas

If you’ve noticed any of the signs above and are looking for leak detection services near you in Vacaville, Novato, or the surrounding areas, turn to Peter Levi. Once you contact us for a leak detection appointment, our trained plumbers will perform a thorough inspection of your home and find the source of a leak. Next, they’ll provide the best leak repair options and perform them for you. Before you make an appointment, you can also review our coupons to see how much you can save on our services.

Learn more about our leak detection and repair services today. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please fill out our online form or call us at 800-605-5713.

How to Prepare Your Plumbing System for Heavy Rains

If you live in Northern California, you know how rainy it can get during our wet season from October through April. While you might enjoy the rain, your plumbing system doesn’t, as heavy rainfall can lead to several problems with your home’s plumbing. For example, the wet season often brings a greater chance of sewer line backups and a higher risk of soil saturation that can damage your pipes. 

Fortunately, you can prepare your plumbing system for heavy rains by knowing the main signs you need maintenance, the primary causes of plumbing issues during heavy rains, and the main maintenance tips you should follow to prepare for the wet season. 

8 Signs You Need Plumbing Service Before Heavy Rains

Part of preparing for heavy rain is fixing problems already affecting your plumbing system. Since heavy rainfall can worsen existing issues, you’ll want to immediately contact a plumber if you notice any of the following signs that your plumbing system needs an inspection or repair:

What Are the Main Causes of Plumbing Disasters During Heavy Rainfall?

Alongside watching for signs of plumbing issues, homeowners should know the main causes of plumbing disasters during heavy rainfall. By knowing the main causes, you can be better equipped to stop and address them. Review the main causes of plumbing emergencies during heavy rainfall below:

1. Foundational Issues Caused by Soil Saturation

When heavy rainfall occurs, the soil composition around your Northern California home can change a great deal, causing soil saturation. This soil saturation can lead to your foundation shifting, which can cause your pipes to crack, shift, or move out of proper alignment. Without a strong foundation designed to handle soil saturation, your plumbing system could be significantly harmed during heavy rain.

2. Tree Root Intrusion in Your Sewer Lines

Though heavy rain can give your home’s vegetation the water it needs to thrive, it can also cause tree roots to grow faster and affect your sewer lines. If your sewer lines are cracked, tree roots will find their way inside as they search for water and other nutrients your wastewater provides. 

Once these tree roots enter your sewer line, they won’t stop growing, leading to sewage blockages. While you might not notice this blockage at first, it can prevent waste from flowing through your lines. If the waste can’t pass through your sewer lines, it will flow back into your home, resulting in a major mess and costly water damage.

3. Neglecting Routine Inspections and Preventative Maintenance

Without regular inspections and preventative maintenance, your plumbing system will be much more likely to experience issues during heavy rainfall. For instance, you could have tree roots growing inside your line, rusted-over pipes, or large clogs that will impact your plumbing system’s performance during heavy rain. By neglecting plumbing maintenance and inspections, your plumbing system could struggle to handle the excess rain, and you’ll be at a much higher risk of a plumbing disaster. 

Proactive Plumbing Maintenance Steps Homeowners Can Take Before Heavy Rains

From scheduling regular inspections and performing gutter maintenance to checking for foundational issues and reviewing your home’s landscaping, you have plenty of ways to prevent heavy rain from negatively affecting your plumbing system. As you get your plumbing system ready for heavy Northern California rains, review our top four preventive plumbing maintenance tips below:

1. Perform Routine Gutter Maintenance

Part of protecting your plumbing system is preventing rainwater from affecting your foundation. Normally, the gutters around your home accomplish this goal by moving water away from your foundation to reduce the risk of foundational damage and soil saturation. If you want your gutters to perform at their best, you’ll need to regularly remove any leaves, debris, and any other obstructions from your gutters. Doing so will reduce the chance of divergent rainwater affecting your foundation and plumbing system.

2. Schedule Regular Maintenance 

Another easy way to protect your plumbing system from heavy rainfall is to schedule regular plumbing inspections before the rainy season. Once a plumber fully inspects your pipes, they can fix any issues that could impact your system’s performance during heavy rain. For instance, a qualified plumber can perform pipe cleaning services if they find a blockage or perform a trenchless sewer repair if they spot tree root intrusions in your sewer line. This maintenance will ensure your plumbing system can perform at its best and prevent costly damages.

3. Check for Foundational Issues Caused by Soil Saturation

Since damage to your home’s foundation from soil saturation can harm your pipes, it’s best practice to check your home’s foundation every once in a while for changes. Most people aren’t experts at spotting issues with their foundation, so you’ll likely want to have a plumber inspect your property and check for damage. After their inspection, they can likely advise you on solutions for soil saturation issues.

4. Review Your Landscaping’s Ability to Handle Heavy Rain

When your property has functional drainage systems and proper grading, you won’t have water pooling in your yard. However, improper landscaping can cause water to pool and sinkholes to form during heavy rain. If you notice pools of water in your yard after heavy rain, you’ll want a professional to install new drainage systems and regrade your yard. With a properly landscaped yard, you can protect your plumbing system from sinkholes that could damage your pipes.

Choose Peter Levi Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Drains for Plumbing Maintenance Services in Novato and Vacaville

If you’re concerned the rainy season could impact your plumbing and are looking for plumbing maintenance services in Vacaville, Novato, or the surrounding Northern California area, turn to Peter Levi Plumbing Heating, Cooling and Drains. Once you contact us, our trained plumbers will be ready to inspect your plumbing system, perform any required maintenance, and give you advice about how you can better protect your system from heavy rain. You can also review our coupons to ensure you receive a great deal on our services.

Learn more about our plumbing services today. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please fill out our online form or call us at 800-605-5713.

Preparing Your Drains for the Holidays: Tips for a Stress-Free Season

The holiday season is a time for festivities, family gatherings, and lots of delicious meals. While the joy of the holidays is undeniable, the increased cooking and entertaining can put extra stress on your plumbing system, especially your drains. To ensure a stress-free season, it's crucial to prepare your drains for the holidays. Peter Levi, your trusted home service company, is here to provide you with the essential tips for a smooth and clog-free celebration.

a bottle of clear vinegar on a wooden countertop

Start with a Clean Slate

Before the holiday madness begins, start with clean drains. Use a chemical-free drain cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to clear any minor clogs or build-up. If you're not confident about handling this yourself, consider scheduling a professional drain cleaning service with our team of experts.

hands cleaning vegetables in a wink with running water

Be Mindful of What Goes Down the Drain

One of the most common causes of holiday drain clogs is the improper disposal of food scraps. Avoid putting fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down the drain, as they can congeal and block the pipes. Instead, collect FOG in a container and dispose of it in the trash.

sink drain with clean water running down it

Use a Strainer

During holiday meal preparations, make good use of drain strainers in your kitchen sink. These simple tools can catch food particles, preventing them from going down the drain and causing clogs. Regularly empty the strainer to keep it effective.

modern black faucet with running water

Run Hot Water

After using the sink, run hot water for a few minutes to help flush any remaining food particles through the pipes. This can prevent them from sticking and causing clogs.

Educate Your Guests

If you're hosting guests during the holidays, make sure they know what should and should not go down the drain. A gentle reminder can go a long way in preventing accidents and clogs.

Schedule a Pre-Holiday Drain Clearing

Consider having a professional plumber from our Peter Levi team inspect your plumbing system before the holiday season. They can identify any potential issues and ensure your drains are in top condition to handle the extra load.

Avoid Overloading the Garbage Disposal

While garbage disposals are handy, overloading them with large quantities of food scraps at once can lead to clogs and strain on your plumbing. Use the disposal in moderation.

Dispose of Turkey and Ham Bones Properly

Holiday feasts often involve large meat bones, which can damage your garbage disposal. Instead of trying to grind them up, wrap them securely and dispose of them in the trash.

Stay Prepared

In the event of a drain clog, keep a plunger and a drain snake handy. A plunger can often clear minor clogs, while a drain snake can be used to address more stubborn blockages.

By taking these precautions and staying mindful of what goes down your drains, you can ensure a clog-free and stress-free holiday season. And if you ever find yourself in need of plumbing assistance, remember that Peter Levi, your home service company, is here to provide reliable and efficient solutions. Wishing you a joyful and clog-free holiday season!

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