Nothing wrecks a beautiful home or office like a wet and musty smell. That’s why a proper leak detection system and plan is important to every business or home owner. When you realize that a single leaky faucet dripping at the rate of one drip per second wastes more than 3,000 gallons per year, you begin to see the importance of proper home maintenance. Did you know, for example, that studies have found 20% to 35% of all residential toilets leak to some degree. In fact, any time you hear an unused toilet run during the day it is probably compensating for a small leak of some kind?
Water leaks, especially if they go unnoticed, can lead to flooring damage as well wood damage and mold. In some of the more damaging and costly situations, water damage and leaks are caused by sewer line clogs. The U.S. has two types of sewer systems: storm water systems and sanitary sewers.
Since the 1930s, storm drains and sanitary drains have been installed separately to prevent cross contamination of the two lines. Clay plumbing pipes, however, which were commonly used until the 1980s, are easily compromised and damaged by tree and plant roots. While we typically think of trees and their parts that are above ground, a tree’s root system grows 12 to 36 inches below the soil surface. In some cases though it can extend horizontally 2 to 3 times the diameter of the leaf and branch canopy. These extended roots are what ultimately infiltrate sewer lines.
Unless you have the proper leak detection plan, you might find out too late that you have sewer line leaks and clogs causing damage. The three most common signs that you have a sewer line clogging situation are:
- Multiple drains are backed up, including toilets, bathtubs and showers.
- Water backs up in odd places when using plumbing fixtures. For example does your toilet start to overflow when you use your washing machine?
- Drainage at the sewer clean out, the white or black threaded cap pipe that provides access to the sewer line.
The bottom line is if your sewer is 40 years old, it may need replacing. Homes outside of the city limits or outside of the city water system have septic tanks. These systems also need monitoring and leak detection plans in place. Depending on how many people live in your house and how much water is used, professionals septic tanks need to be pumped at least once every five to seven years. Older septic systems sometimes need to be pumped more often as they age. A houseful of company in a home with an older septic system can be disastrous. In all cases though, a leak detection system can help you know ahead of time about an upcoming problem.