How to Clean Up After a Water Leak
We use water every day to wash our hands, do our laundry and cook our food. Water is an essential part of life, but what do you do when that water is leaking?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that 10% of households have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water each day. It’s important to know how to check for leaks and how to clean up after this common problem.
Here at Earl’s Plumbing, we know how a leak can disrupt your life. If you’ve ever dealt with a burst pipe or loose connection, then you know, too. We are always happy to help San Angelo residents with troublesome plumbing, and we know emergencies happen. If you’re trying to clean up after a tough leak, this guide is for you!
The Leak Detection Process
Identifying the leak and its source on your own can be confusing. Some signs are obvious, like moisture and mold on walls, floors and ceilings, but others are hard to spot. Figuring out whether you’re wasting water is key. To check for common leaks, you can:
- Check your water meter, then set a two-hour timer and make sure you don’t run any water during that time. If the meter changes after that timer is up, there’s probably a leak.
- Check your utility bill for January or February. If your family of four uses over 12,000 gallons that month, you probably have a leak.
- Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank of your toilet and wait for 10 minutes. If the color shows in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
- Check for pooling water near appliances, under sinks and rust around pipes.
- Listen for dripping faucets and showerheads, as well as running water from your toilet.
If you spot any of these signs, it’s important to fix the leak before any water damage occurs. Sometimes you can do this yourself by doing things like tightening a loose pipe connection, replacing a toilet flapper or replacing a showerhead. However, you should call a trusted plumber for bigger issues like running toilets, water supply line issues and broken sprinklers.
Cleaning Up The Water Leak
As annoying as leaks are to fix, the clean-up can be even worse. This is especially true if you have flooding from a burst pipe. No matter how bad the aftermath of your leak is, there are a few standard steps to follow.
Step One: Prepare
Take pictures of the damage and leak if you want to file a homeowners’ insurance claim. It’s best to do this before cleaning. Then you can grab some rubber gloves and boots, a mask and goggles to prevent diseases and injury.
If the water is several inches deep, or above the outlet, you will need to cut the power before continuing. You may need to call an electrician if the circuit box is out of reach.
Step Two: Move And Remove
First, remove any important belongings from the leaking area. Then, you can remove anything blocking your workspace to give yourself a cleared area.
Once you’ve done this, you can clear any standing water with a wet vac. Or, if your leak is minor, you can just clean up the water with some towels.
Step Three: Disinfect and Dry
After you’ve cleared the excess water, it’s time to clean. Use hot water and soap to scrub floors and walls, and anything else that the water has touched. Wipe everything down with a disinfectant mixture of 1 ounce of bleach to 4 gallons of water. You’ll need to stay out of this area until it’s been dry for 10 hours.
Next up is drying out the area. Open all windows, doors, cabinets and closets. You will also need to run multiple fans through the house and a dehumidifier. This equipment will need to run constantly for two-to-three days.
After you’ve finished cleaning and disinfecting the affected area of your home, all that’s left is repairing and replacing structural damage.
How To Prevent Water Leaks
No one wants to wake up to a leaky pipe or bulging ceiling–it’s an expensive annoyance! Although you can never fully eliminate accidental and emergency leaks, there are a few things you can do at home to prevent them!
Making sure hose connections are secure in places like washing machines, dishwashers and other appliances can save you a lot of trouble. Performing routine maintenance on these appliances can go a long way in preventing annoying leaks.
Monitoring your water bill each month can also clue you into a leak. If you’re wasting water with a leaky pipe, you’re sure to see it on your bill! You could also install a smart water sensor to notify you of leaks before they cause too much damage.
Your San Angelo Leak Detection Specialists
Have you dealt with a leak in your home? If so, then you know how important it is to have a plumbing company that you can trust. Earl’s Plumbing of San Angelo is always here to help homeowners with their plumbing concerns!
If you need help with detecting a leak in your home, you can count on Earl’s Plumbing. Our expert plumbers will help you get to the root of leaks on your property, and we’ll make sure that your plumbing is running perfectly. Indoors or outdoors, we’ll fix it all!
Call us today to get your home’s plumbing up and running again.