Solving the Water Leak Riddle, One Appliance at a Time

D.I.Y. homeowners are notorious for fixing the symptom (or one component of) a leaky dishwasher, washing machine, toilet, etc., but not the actual cause.

One of the most insidious causes of residential property loss and damage isn’t fire, hurricane-strength winds, or even sinkholes. It’s water. Not from floods, but rather, from slowly leaking appliances. 

The reasons are two-fold: First, D.I.Y. homeowners are notorious for fixing the symptom (or one component of) a leaky dishwasher, washing machine, toilet, etc., but not the actual cause.  And second, many leaks don’t manifest for long periods of time. Escaping water goes undetected from everyday appliances, falling drip by gradual drip until they develop into a full-blown crisis.

Add the fact that appliance-related water damage is rarely covered by insurance (regular maintenance checks are the homeowner’s responsibility) – and the room for error becomes non-existent.

Like they say in chess, “the best defense is offense.” So we’ve called upon one of Georgia’s leading leak eradicators, Apple Leak Detection, to help you make sure you’re preventing water leaks before they cause major damage.

Why is water leak detection so difficult?

Confirming you have a leak is half the battle. The other half is much harder, explains the Apple Leak team: “Finding the source of the leak in the entire plumbing system,” can be a needle-in-haystack challenge.

The source may mislead you.

Take the case of a flooded kitchen. Considering below-freezing temperatures, the homeowner initially thought the cause was a burst pipe in the main water line feeding into the refrigerator – a multi-thousand-dollar repair.

In fact, the source of the flood was a cracked saddle valve that connected the refrigerator’s ice maker to the main water line – a $40 fix!

In the case of a leaking dishwasher, one owner troubleshot the problem on his own, ultimately determining that the washer’s drain was clogged. He cleared the area of debris, and the problem went away... for a while, only to return accompanied by a faint burning smell.

After calling in a professional, the source of the leak was located inside the kick panel, even further to inside the water inlet valve -- a component that contains electrical wires. The homeowner was a few washes away from causing a major fire.

Apple Leak combines years of experience with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure this resolution.

Apart from the presence of water, what are more “hidden” signs of a leaking appliance?

First and foremost, the Apple Leak Detection team offers this advice: “If you receive a high water bill for no apparent reason,” this may be the first red-flag.

 Other indicators include:

  • Wall water marks and bubbling paint on base moldings
  • Hissing toilets and water heaters
  • Reduced water pressure
  • “Squishy” floors
  • Moldy odors
  • Stammering faucets and slow drainage

For specific appliances, what are common sources of water leaks?

Dishwasher

From simplest to most complex:

  • Worn rubber gasket along the inside of the door
  • Broken latches
  • Clogged drains
  • Cracked fill or drain hoses
  • Broken pump motor

Most experts warn: Under-dishwasher leakage may go years without detection, rotting the floor and subfloor along the way. It’s critical to remove the kick panel every six months and look for any signs of water.

Washing Machine

 

According to disastersafety.org, “Washing machine water leaks are one of the top 10 sources of water damage to homes.” The primary source of those leaks is the hot and cold supply lines.

Otherwise, knowing when the leak occurs is key to identifying the leak’s source; whether water appears in front of the machine hours after operation, or whether it occurs during the “fill” or “wash/agitate” portion of the cycle helps to eliminate and isolate specific parts of the unit. A professional will be able to help solve either type of leak.

Warning to homeowners: opening the cabinet on one’s own often voids the unit’s warranty.

Water heater/boiler

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to repair water heater tank leaks on your own. These are 20-100 gallons drums of water, heated to 140-190-degrees Fahrenheit, connected to the main power lines. The potential for human injury is significant.

As our friends at Apple Leak Detection stress, “Detecting the exact location of a leak is crucial for minimizing further damage to your property.” That’s why the Apple team offers on-demand leak emergency services, a 1-2 response time for regular issues, and free service inspections.


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