How To Tell If You Have A Water Leak In Your Condo

Few things in life are as unsettling as finding out that you may have a water leak in your condo.

Leaks are also one of the most common problems condo owners and property managers have to face.

Because of the vast range of potential ways leaks can occur, the damage may range from minor quick fixes to complete replacements of plumbing.

And what happens if a leak from your unit affects others or vice versa? This could lead to much bigger relationship problems with other unit owners and affect the quality of life in your condo.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to become proactive and reduce your risk of water leaks or catch them before they become an issue.

Start With Your Water Meter

One of the quickest and simplest ways to tell if you have a water leak is by checking your water meter. To do this, go around to all of the faucets in your home – kitchen sink, bathrooms, utility rooms, outside hoses (if applicable) or any other faucet and turn them off completely. Also make sure that your dishwasher and washing machine are also not running.

If you already suspect a leak, go check your water meter and see if it is moving at all. If it is, you may have a fast-moving leak. If not, feel free to use this time to binge watch any NetFlix shows you’re behind on and check again in a couple of hours while not using any water in the meantime. If it has changed (even though your water has been shut off), you may have a slow leak somewhere in your pipes.

Add A Little Colour

Toilets have come a long way over the year and become more and more efficient. Older toilets however, may use up to 7 gallons of water with each flush – so it’s a good idea to check them out when you are looking for leaks. So before you start digging around your plumbing, here’s a little trick to see if your toilet could be leaking.

Grab some food colouring and add a few drops to the tank (the vertical part of the toilet) and wait a few minutes. If the colour shows up in the bowl, then you have a leak that is draining from the tank into the bowl despite not flushing the toilet.

Get Technical

Now ideally you would have located your leak by now but if not, you may have to start bringing in the gadgets.

The first of which is a moisture meter (or moisture reader). These are handheld devices that detect moisture content or build up within building materials, and are great for detecting leaks that are not apparently visible.

Another great tool is an infrared camera. The main purpose of these is to visually display variations in temperature. Often times water can create hot or cold zones within a wall, so it helps you to actually see where your problem originates from.

If you have a friend who is a contractor, they may have one of these you can borrow. Alternatively, you can easily purchase them from a hardware store or Amazon. Prices for a moisture reader can range from $40 to over $300, while infrared cameras typically start at a higher price point – around $180 and go upwards from there.

Next Steps

If you can’t find a leak but suspect there may be an issue with your plumbing that may affect you or your neighbours, it might be time to respectfully bring it to the attention of your property management professional. They should be familiar with these types of issues and are invested in making sure it is acted upon quickly and correctly.

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