What causes pipes to leak?
There are a number of causes that make water appear where it's not supposed to in your home. Some of the most common reasons are:
Age-Nothing lasts forever, including plumbing. If your piping was installed 30 years ago or more, the materials used have started to degrade and leaks are inevitable. The older the plumbing, the greater the risk. Corrosion of the pipes themselves or the rubber seals shrinking and cracking are two of the most common pipe aging issues.
High Water Pressure-Who doesn't like good water pressure? The answer might be your pipes. Household plumbing is rated for maximum water pressure capacity and if you exceed that, the pipes will eventually leak. Even if your pressure is within the rated capacity for the pipe, repeatedly stressing the pipe with the initial surge of high water pressure will eventually wear the pipes and seals down.
Untreated clogs-If you have used a corrosive substance to get rid of a clog, especially more than once, it's possible that the drain cleaner is stuck somewhere eating away at the pipes instead of the clog. Harsh chemical clog removers can be more trouble than they are worth, so it's a good idea to call a licensed plumber the next time a drain backs up.
Pipe Joint Damage-Extreme weather like repeated heating and cooling can cause cracks in pipes, which eventually turn to leaks. Pipe joints are a common place for this to happen.
Fixture Cracks-If a faucet, sink or toilet has been pulled on or damaged, leaks can develop near the joint that attaches them to your plumbing. If you persistently find any water near fixtures, call a licensed plumber to check things out.
Improper Installation-What might seem to be an easy DIY plumbing project might have unexpected complications. If you suspect that you might have improperly installed piping, call a licensed plumber for an inspection before the damage gets worse.
Shifted Connections-Long term foundation or ground shifting can eventually strain a connection until it gives way and starts to leak. If there is no other explanation for a leak, this could be the cause.
If you notice stains on the wall, a moldy smell or water where it doesn't belong, it's likely you have a leak. Other signs of a leak are discolored or smelly water, which means that your water supply has been contaminated by an open pipe.
If you think you have a leak, don't wait.