Catching a drain line break or leak early can save you a lot of money in costly repairs and a lot of headaches. As the overwhelming majority of homeowners are aware, water can do an exorbitant amount of damage to the walls and floors of homes, and the cost to fix that damage can run in the thousands. If you suspect that there’s a drain line break in your home or office, you can certainly call a plumbing expert and wait for him or her to show up and assess the damage. Or, you can do some of the legwork before the plumber’s van even pulls into your driveway.
But how can you locate a drain line break? It’s not quite as simple as a leaky faucet, for example, where you can easily spot the water dripping, but it’s still a job that’s approachable for most homeowners. Whether you need to find and fix a drain line break in La Canada, CA or anywhere else, here are three quick things you’ll want to do.
1. Check the Meter.
First, you’ll want to make sure the line break is in fact in a drain line and that is happening inside your home and not outside before the meter. To do this, turn off all of your home’s faucets and water-based appliances (such as the dishwasher and the clothes washer). Then, check your water meter. If the dials on the meter are still moving, there’s a leak somewhere in your home, but it’s in the water line and not in the drain line. If the meter is still, however, the leak is outside the house before the meter, and you’ll probably need to call a plumber to detect the leak and fix the line.
2. Get in and Get Under.
Once you’ve determined that the leak is inside your home, you’ll want to start with the easy to access spots to find the leak. Check under sinks — in vanities and cabinets — to see if there’s any pooled water or wet spots. Turn on the faucet to check the visible part of the drain line. Similarly, if your home has a tub or shower access panel, remove it and check those pipes as well. If you find a the leak, you’ll probably need to replace the joints if they’re not sealing properly or the entire section of pipe if it’s cracked or otherwise compromised.
3. Get in the Crawlspace.
If the line break is in your home and you can’t spot it in the places listed in the previous step, then it’s time to check lines in the basement or crawlspace, depending on how your home is designed. Grab a flashlight and a few paper towels, then start checking the joints first. If you suspect that one is leaking, place a paper towel on it; you’ll know right away if it’s leaking because the water will quickly saturate the towel. Again, joints or pipes will need to be replaced if they’re no longer able to keep your water line or drain line from leaking.
DIY or Call The Pros
Finding a drain line leak is a relatively straightforward proposition for most homeowners, even if they’re not particularly handy. Basically, you want to look for where the water is collecting or where the surfaces are unusually damp, and your leak isn’t too far away.
Fixing the problem, however, is another matter entirely. If you’re a believer in the DIY ethos and are able to make the repair on your own, you can often get it done with some elbow grease and a few dollars’ worth of parts from the hardware store. Or, if you’d prefer to leave the job to the experts, it’s probably time to call a plumber to take care of the situation for you.