Watch Out for These Signs of a Plumbing Leak

There are some obvious signs of leaks, but there are also instances when plumbing leak detection isn’t so apparent. The following guide will walk you through both scenarios while offering advice on how to combat the situation.

Check Your Water Bill

If you receive a water bill that is abnormally high, and you can’t locate the source, you may be dealing with a leak. On average, the typical family of four will use roughly 12,000 gallons of water each month.

A small leak, like a tap with a consistent drip, can use roughly 10,000 gallons of water a year. So it’s important to address leaks and drips as soon as you notice them.

Observe Water Meter for Water Leak

If a leak is suspected, paying attention to your water meter can confirm your suspicions. Follow these steps: 

  • Turn off all the taps in your home, and make sure your dishwasher and washing machine isn’t running. 
  • Take a look at the meter and write down the numbers that you see. Return in an hour and check the numbers once again. If the numbers are different, you know you’ve got a leak on your hands.
  • Turn off the home’s main water supply to identify if the leak is inside or outside the home.
  • Check the numbers after you shut off the main water supply and return in an hour. If the numbers are different, the leak is outside. If the numbers are the same, it’s inside.

Look for Patches of Uneven Grass

If you notice an area of your grass is far greener and thicker than the rest, this could be a sign of a buried water line that is leaking. If it is significant, you might even see standing water in some areas of the lawn.

Check Appliances and Fixtures for Water Leak

If theleak is inside the home, a good place to start inspecting are the cabinets beneath the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room sinks for any signs of water damage. Also inspect the base of the toilets, showers, and tubs for any puddles. If you notice any, turn off the water supply to the fixture and call a plumber. You could also be dealing with a leak in the interior of the toilet.

The rubber stopper that prevents water from leaving the tank and entering the bowl can break down over time. Put a few drops of food colouring in the tank and wait a few minutes. If you see coloured water entering the bowl, you’ll know why.

Look for Clues Indicating Water Leak

Finding water leaks isn’t always easy so look out for the following:

Discoloured wall – if there’s a discolouration on the wall, you could have a leak below the drywall that has seeped through. The distinctive yellow or brown stains will be the indicator. 

Bubbling or bulging walls – if you have bubbling or bulging walls or ceilings, that’s an indication that there’s water on the other side. 

A dripping noise – if you hear a constant dripping sound but can’t find the tap or faucet that is responsible, a pipe in a wall may be slowly leaking.
Musty smell – if a leak has existed for any length of time, there will likely be an odour present. Mold will grow in moist conditions and its spores will enter the air inside your home.

Contact the Pros

The next time you find or suspect you have a water leak, call the professionals at Summit Drain. Their team of experts can handle all of your plumbing needs.


A main sewer line blockage can cause water to backup in random places. For instance, you run your washing machine and notice your sink overflowing – this can be a clear sign that you have a clogged drain line.

If you have ruled out a potential sewer drain clog, you can rinse your sewer drain by flushing it with water. When you flush your lines, try adding a bit of drain cleaner to the water. A great place to flush your sewer line is the toilet – a larger amount of water and drain cleaner can enter your system quickly and easily. Unfortunately, if you do this when you have a clog, it can cause backup and potential flooding – if this is the case, clear the clog first.

You should generally know if your sewer line is blocked with slow drainage. The purpose of the sewer line is to take all the water drainage away from your house via sinks, bathtubs or toilets – if you find that there is slower drainage in one drain then you can essentially clear that yourself using a drain snake or a plunger.

There is confusion regarding when you are responsible for sewer line repair. While some may believe that the homeowner is only responsible for repairing the part of the line that’s on their property, this is not the case. Sewer lines consist of multiple sections, the upper lateral, lower lateral and the main line. The city is only responsible for repairing the main sewer line.

If issues with the main sewer line cause damage to your lower lateral, which is most likely where the damage would generally first start – the city would repair this damage when they work on the main sewer line. Unfortunately, if there is backup and flooding on your property from the main sewer line, then the city would not be responsible. It is best to follow up with the city to see if they will repair any damage in these cases.

Unpleasant smells coming from your drains is indicative of sewer line issues and damage. You should always take these types of smells seriously as it could be toxic fumes slowly releasing from the sewer below into your home.

There are a number of ways to clear a slow drain using products found around the home:

Bent Wire – If you do not have a drain snake, you can try using a stiff wire – like one from a clothes hanger, leaving the hook to enter pipes and pull out any clogs. Try to make sure you don’t push debris further into the pipe.

Homemade Flush – Mixing baking soda and vinegar can dissolve any materials that are potentially clogging your drain pipes. This is a good and much safer alternative to store-bought chemical cleaners.

Toilet Plunger – Like plunging a toilet, you can try using this on your drains. Using a plunger on your drains can help get things moving by using suction. This should be enough to fix any mild blockages.

Aged drain pipes are at risk for corrosion which can lead to breaks. Summit Drain has both the technology and expertise to fix this if necessary.

Yes. Drain pipes are durable, but not meant to last forever. If you live in an older home in Ottawa, most likely the pipes are made from copper and can collapse in this day and age.

When it comes to a collapsed drain, call Summit Drain. We use trenchless technology to replace sewer pipes made from original materials without ruining your property.

Rock salt
Rock salt helps by removing moisture from the roots, which in turn kills them. Two lbs should do the trick, pour 1 down the toilet. Flush until gone. And repeat with the next. Then leave for 12 hours and don’t run any water.

Foaming root killers
Another effective way to treat roots in pipes is with foaming root killers. Pour powder into toilet and flush. It will foam upon contact with water. Not only does it help dissolve current roots, but also helps to protect against future ones.

Copper sulfate
Copper sulfate is another good option. Available at most hardware stores, pour roughly half a cup into toilet and flush until gone. Leave the home and take all pets and family members along. This is a toxic substance and banned in some places.

Should I replace old pipes?
There does come a time where it makes sense to replace your pipes. Over time they crack and corrode. It is recommended to begin routine inspections once your home reaches 50 years in age. For plumbing Services in and around the Ottawa area, nobody does it like Summit Drain.

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