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Plumbing Leaks: 8 Smart Tips to Stop Them

Plumbing leaks and the resulting water damage repairs or mold cleanup can be costly. Avoid the inconvenience with some good habits and modest investments in time and money.

1. Locate your home’s main water shut-off valve. If there’s ever a plumbing leak, you can go straight there and quickly turn off the water to the entire house.

2. Install shut-off valves at individual appliances and fixtures. This allows you to keep water flowing in other areas of the house while making site-specific repairs. You can find quater-turn, ball-type shut-off valves for less than $10; you’ll pay around $50 to $150 per hour for plumber, often with a minimum two-hour charge.

3. Install a flow sensor that detects plumbing leaks and automatically shuts off water to the entire house or a specific appliance. Those devoted to a specific appliance start around $75. Whole-house flow sensors can reach into the thousands. Plus, factor in the cost of a plumber.

4. Remove hoses from outdoor spigots in winter to prevent frozen water from cracking the pipes and causing plumbing leaks, or worse, a flood. Install frost-free hose bibs at exerior spigots.

5. Add pipe insulation to the plumbing in cold parts of your house—such as garages, basements, and crawl spaces—to avoid frozen pipes (and to shorten the wait for hot water). Pipe insulation tubes cost as little as 35 cents per foot.

6. Don’t use exposed pipes as hanger rods for laundry or to store clothes. Doing so can loosen joints and fasteners and lead to plumbing leaks.

7. Don’t overload vanities and sink cabinets. When you crowd stuff into your cabinets, you can jostle water supply pipes and drains, loosening connections and causing plumbing leaks. If drips occur, they’re tough to spot amid piles of cleaners and spare TP.

8. Fix problems quickly. Even small leaks can make pipes corrode more quickly, and cause significant water damage or mold. Take the time to periodically scout for signs of leaks and drips.

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These articles are not intended to give legal or tax advice, and you should consult your attorney or financial advisor for additional information.

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