5 Most Common Causes of Household Water Leaks

Home Plumbing Troubleshooting

5 Most Common Causes of Household Water Leaks

No homeowner wants to deal with a water leak. Some people ignore water leak symptoms because they're afraid of what they might find if they go poking around behind walls and near pipes. Learn the five most common causes of water leaks in your home so you're prepared to deal with them before they drain your bank account.


Clogs are one common cause of water leaks in your home. If ignored, they can create big problems. If a clog is left alone long enough, pressure may increase within the pipe and cause it to crack or burst. Taking care of a simple clog is much easier, and less expensive than what results if you don't take care of the problem soon.

Tubs and Toilets

Tubs and showers have seals designed to keep water moving down drains and to the sewer. Sometimes, a seal is faulty. For a homeowner, this can create a disaster, especially if the leak isn't noticed for a long time. Toilets also have seals that ensure water drains to the appropriate place. Leaks in bathrooms go undetected because they're typically in places where you can't see the evidence immediately. Water may have been soaking into subflooring for months, where it creates the perfect environment for mold growth. The first sign of a tub or toilet leak may be stains on the ceiling or joists in the area below the bathroom.

Hot Water Heaters

Water heaters generally have an 8- to 12-year lifetime before they give up on providing you with that nice hot shower. Sometimes, you know when a water heater is wearing out, and you can be proactive about either repairing or replacing it. It's not unusual, however, to be blissfully unaware of a problem until you realize you have a small creek in your basement. Time to call a plumber!

High Water Pressure


Who doesn't love a strong hot shower in the morning? It's a great way to wake up and face the day. It's also a sign that you may have water pressure that's too high. Why should you care? The water pipes in your home are not designed to withstand high water pressure for an extended amount of time. Normal water pressure should be 60 pounds per square inch (psi). Pressure higher than 80 psi can cause pipes to develop multiple pin holes, which leads to a large-scale water mess in your home. If you're not a handyman and don't have the necessary tools to check water pressure, call a plumber. You can combine the visit with your yearly hot water heater check and main sewer line inspection.


Tree roots are often the culprit when water leaks into a basement. These roots can exert pressure on water pipes, which causes them to crack. If you do find that your leaky basement is caused by tree root invasion, don't ignore it. You might turn an already expensive repair into a major financial disaster.

Now that you know a bit more about what a few common causes of water leaks are, you're better prepared to prevent them. Check periodically for signs of water damage. Pay attention to clogs and deal with them quickly. Have your water heater inspected each year. Prevention may save a homeowner from inconvenience and financial hardship. Keep your plumbing system and your wallet free of leaks.