Nothing can cause more catastrophic damage to a home than water – especially from a leaky pipe. Whether a slow drip or a gusher, leaking water from a pipe can damage your home more than just the cost of repairing the line.
When dealing with a leaky pipe, there’s the line cost, water abatement, and the possibility of mold damage. Quite simply, water damage in your home from a leaky pipe is best defined by the adage, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”
In this article, we’ll go through what you should do if you suspect a leaky pipe is quietly wreaking havoc in your home, what to do about mold, repairing the line, and what will happen if you plan to sell your home post-repair.
Let’s get started!
How to Fix a Leaking Water Pipe Underground
If you have a water pipe leaking underground, it can be tricky to repair. But thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to try and fix it.
First, you will need to locate the leak. Hallmarks of a leaky underground pipe include puddling around the source of the leak, low water pressure inside your home, and sinkholes in your yard.
Dig around the area where you think the leak is located. Once you have found the leak, you can then begin to repair it.
You may also want to check the water supply line and the water meter. Routine inspections of both will save you money and prevent headaches. Inspecting the water meter and your water bill can also reveal an underground water leak.
If the leak is small, you may be able to patch it up with some plumbing tape. But if the leak is more significant, you may need to replace the entire section of pipe — PVC, cast iron, or copper pipes.
Once you have repaired the broken pipe, you will need to refill the hole you dug.
Finally, you should turn the water back onto the pipe and check for any plumbing leaks. If you really want to sell a house fast in Idaho, be sure to follow all these steps.
Identifying the Source of the Leak
Locating the source of the water leak can be a journey all its own, but it is the crucial first step in fixing the plumbing issue. This task can be done by turning off the water in the house.
Next, check all fixtures to see if the leak has stopped. If it has, you know that the leak is between the main water shut-off valve and the spout. If the leak has not stopped, it will most likely come from the main water line.
Once you have identified the source of the leak, the next step is to determine the size of the leak.
First, measure the amount of water coming out of the leak. If the leak is small, it can be fixed with a simple repair. However, if the leak is large, it will require a more extensive repair.
The next step is to determine the best way to fix it. If the leaking pipe is small, then a simple leak repair may be all that is needed. However, a more extensive repair will most likely be required if the leak is significant.
An inspection of your water heater is valuable at this point. If you are fortunate to have a contemporary water heater, it may come with leak detection.
More significant leaks will require a professional plumber to help repair them. Do your research on plumbers in the area and find one you can trust.
Check reviews online for plumbers and call one who can deal with the leak in an abbreviated time frame – especially if the leak is much larger than your skill set. Many plumbers offer emergency 24/7 service but be warned that after-hours prices will be much higher.
Identifying Mold in Your House
If your home has been dealing with a water leak for a prolonged period, mold has likely grown inside your home. Mold is exceptionally unhealthy for breathing and can cause long-term health issues. So, what do you do if you identify mold in your home?
First, one should be on the lookout for visible mold. Mold can be black, green, or white and may be fuzzy or slimy. Check around things like faucets in kitchens and bathrooms for visible, telltale signs of mold.
There is also the issue of smell. Mold comes with a unique scent where it is concentrated. So if you smell a musty, earthy smell in your home, mold is likely present.
Another telltale sign is damp areas. Mold quickly grows in wet areas, so inspect the area around the damp spot. The water may be coming from the floor or ceiling. Rooms below bathrooms are susceptible to this type of mold damage.
Speaking of ceilings, check for discoloring. Mold can cause walls and ceilings to change color. Sometimes, water leaks from old leaky plumbing systems will cause rust stains and corrosion.
Peeling paint is another mold sign. Paint that is peeling or bubbling may come from leaks that cause mold.
If you suspect mold in your house, it’s essential to have it professionally removed as soon as possible.
Believe it or not, many realtors suggest water damage is among the things not to fix when selling a house, considering the thousands of dollars it can cost over more valuable repairs.
Repairing an Underground Water Pipe
Repairing an underground water line brings its own set of frustrations, especially if it is the main supply pipe into your home.
Of course, you will want to locate the leak as your first step in this process. First, turn off all the water to your home and then check the meter. If the meter is still running, you know you have a leak.
Next, you’ll need to dig up the pipe to find the leak. Once you’ve found the leak, you’ll need to repair it using a patch kit or by replacing the leaking section of pipe. Again, this may be a problem that a plumber can only solve. YouTube might be your friend for easy DIY repairs, but water leaks should be serviced by plumbing repair professionals.
Finally, you’ll need to refill the hole and turn the water back on.
Documenting Repair of Underground Water Pipe
If you are selling a house in a floodplain and locate a leaky water pipe during the inspection process, documenting the repair will be vital to instilling confidence in potential buyers.
While fixing an underground pipe on your own is possible, hiring a professional to repair the leak is highly recommended. A plumber will help you document the repair from cost estimates, photograph the repair, and provide a breakdown of what went into the repair.
When hiring a plumbing contractor to fix issues before selling a home, seek out several options and do your research. If this sale is contingent upon the repair of the pipe leak, pick an affordable plumber who also provides quality work.
While any water line leak following the sale of a home is no longer your issue, getting the work repaired to a point where the problem no longer presents itself for years to come is the right thing to do.
Photographing the repair is also an invaluable part of the process, giving potential buyers confidence to know that the repair was handled. Seeing is believing, after all.
A detailed repair report can also deliver confidence to a buyer. The plumber can provide the statement upon completion of the repair. This report tells a buyer what went into the repair, the cost of parts and labor, and a guarantee that the fix is permanent.
Selling a House After Repairing a Leaky Water Pipe
As we’ve mentioned, selling a home after a leaky water pipe repair can cause potential buyers to pause the process. In addition, no one wants to buy a home with severe water or mold damage following a leaky pipe repair.
If the damage is severe enough, many home sellers opt for selling a home “as-is.” Selling an as-is home acknowledges that the residence could need significant repairs.
Still, it all goes back to hiring a professional if you sell your home after a water leak. Documentation of the damage and the repair is crucial. A professional will not want to put their name on a repair unless done to a high standard, so a report is a valuable resource.
However, if you go for the as-is route, you may want to hire a professional to provide a breakdown of what may need to go into repairing mold or water leak issues. This report can either aid or hinder your sale, so be prepared.
Disclosure about the water leak issue is also essential if you’re looking for cash home buyers in Meridian or any other place. A home inspector is likely to find any severe or small leak, so alerting any potential buyer of a leak before a home inspection is the right thing to do and protects you from any potential legal issues.
A leaky water pipe is a cause for concern for any homeowner, but you can address the issue quickly if you stay vigilant. Considering how much of an investment a home can be, repairing any problems upfront protects you and your investment.
If you have leaky problems and are looking for buyers to sell your home as-is, remember we buy houses Boise and many other places too.