Keep a lookout at these common places in your house to prevent significant water damage. We’ve thrown in some tips to help property owners manage water leaks too.
We can all agree that water leaks are a real pain to deal with, no matter where they occur. The even more annoying thing is that sometimes these leaks are not detected until they’ve already caused a significant amount of water damage to your wall, ceiling or even furniture. Not only that, but a significant leak can also cause your water bill charges to go up unknowingly.
As such, we thought it would be useful to list some of the common places where water leakages occur in a home so that you pay closer attention to them and nip the leak in its bud. We also include some tips on how you can detect these leaks and the ways to minimise any water damage they can cause to your residential property.
1. Master bedroom
It may seem a little counterintuitive that a master bedroom would have a leak given that it contains no water source. That saying, a master bedroom often has an en suite bathroom. While most water leaks would present themselves within the toilet, assuming if the toilet of the unit above is leaking, the leaks can sometimes show up in your master bedroom. This is often a result of water from the leak flowing through the gaps within the bricks and mortars of the wall separating your master bedroom and your en suite bathroom – which would cause water patches to appear within the master bedroom.
Tip: If you are building a built-in wardrobe in your master bedroom, it would be wise to choose a wall that is away from the wall separating your toilet and your bedroom. That’s because assuming if a water leak happens, it would be an absolute mess, not to mention a costly affair to try and fix it, especially if it starts causing water damage to your wardrobe.
2. The ceiling
The most common spot and if we are honest, the most annoying, mainly because of how obvious the water damage is. You can’t exactly hide the ugly, brown spot behind a table for one. The ceiling of a toilet and kitchen are probably the most common areas where a leak could occur because of their proximity to water sources. In landed homes, a leaking roof can cause water stain damage to pretty much any part of your ceiling.
Tip: If you’ve bought a high rise property, try and get in contact with the unit directly above you and get them to turn on the faucets and ‘flood’ their toilet so that you can perform a water leak test to see if there is indeed a leak. It’s always better to get these fixed before you move in. Given a new place is probably under a 24-month warranty for defects anyway (Defect Liability Period), it won’t cost your neighbours anything to help you detect this leak as it will be handled by the property developer.
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3. The toilet
While we have mentioned the aforementioned ceilings of toilets as a hotspot for toilet leaks, there are other places within your lavatory where leaks can occur. Because a toilet is often wet, you may not always notice that there is a leak. Showerheads and faucets are some common places where leaks can spring. They can mostly be fixed by tightening some joints but sometimes these leaks occur in the grout so you may need to get some patching work done.
Tip: Generally being more observant of water pooling even though you’ve not turned the faucet or shower on for a while is one way to detect these leaks. Otherwise, they can appear rather innocuous.
4. Near an air-conditioner
Many newer housing developments come bundled in with air-conditioners, which is great. Due to cosmetic reasons, aircon pipes are often hidden within concrete walls or plaster ceilings. If these pipes spring a leak, they can present themselves as a water stain on your wall or ceiling.
Tip: While it is common for condensation to appear on air-conditioners at times, do take notice if it starts getting quite severe as it could be an indication of a blockage somewhere along the aircon pipes. These blockages if left unattended can eventually cause water leaks within those pipes and larger issues in the future.
5. Washing machine area
Most properties have a designated wash area where there is an installed faucet and a water outlet for a washing machine. These connections can spring a leak too. Sometimes the washing machine’s drain pump filter can overflow as well if it’s not drained periodically. The drain pump filter catches small items that you have accidentally left in your pieces of clothing such as coins to avoid them getting lodged in your pipes. However, excess water can build up in there as well. These can sometimes be unnoticed as it pools mostly under the washing machine. If left unchecked, they can cause water damage as well.
Tip: Drain your washing machine’s drain pump filter periodically to avoid it overflowing. They are usually located near the bottom of the machine. Just open the cover and unscrew the valve and drain the water into a container. Elevating your machine on a stand helps with this because sometimes it may be difficult to find enough angles to tilt a larger container under the pipe where the water flows out. The valve may also be tight and hard to unscrew because of water pressure.
6. The kitchen
The kitchen, like the toilet, is also a common area because of its proximity to water sources. As such, the ceiling is a common source because the kitchen of the unit above is directly above your kitchen. If your upstairs neighbour’s kitchen pipe is springing a leak, it may manifest itself on your kitchen ceiling. Water-based appliances such as water filters and dishwashers can spring minor leaks sometimes but the main culprit here is often water leaks under the sink. These leaks can be easily noticed, and their source quickly identified.
Tip: While leaks under the sink can be easily noticed, homeowners usually don’t detect one until it’s been leaking a while because we’ve not opened the cabinets below for a while. Poke around in your cabinets below occasionally to check and make sure that there are no water leaks. Sometimes the water may have dried, so look out for water stains on your cabinet.
7. Other unexpected places in older houses
If you’ve bought an older apartment or a subsale house, be vary of leaks springing up in unexpected places. Bear in mind that for older properties, your home may have undergone a few rounds of potentially major renovations from different owners. For example, if your balcony has no faucet now, it doesn’t mean there are no pipes in the walls. It’s possible that one of the previous owners had a faucet installed and ran pipes from the kitchen or toilet to the balcony within the walls and at some point, another previous owner had closed off the faucet without removing the pipes.
Tip: If you are in contact with the previous owner during the purchase, it may be wise to ask them if they had made major alterations to the plumbing system of the home and what are the renovations they did. That way you can be more mindful of these places or even better, remove and seal off these pipes properly during your home renovation.
We hope that this guide helps you detect the potential leaks within your house quickly and efficiently. In some ways, water leaks are inevitable in most homes over time. What we can do is to detect them as early as possible and to rectify them before they cause messy and expensive damages.