Appliance failure is a major cause, that’s why you should always monitor daily-use appliances like dishwashers and washing machines for faults and leaks.
In other cases, the problem may be leaking plumbing that can be difficult to locate and repair, but if you’re aware of the signs, you may be able to get ahead of the problem before it causes more lasting damage.
These are some of the common faults and potential issues to be aware of to reduce the likelihood of flooding in your home.
Fractured water pipes
Over time, water pipes throughout the home may become susceptible to fractures, all of which can lead to water escaping into your home.
Because WA’s water quality is especially hard, meaning it’s packed with minerals like calcium and magnesium, some pipes are prone to greater wear from consistent water use.
Plumber Ben Talbot says pipes made of polybutylene are particularly at risk. “This grey plastic piping is common in WA homes, and because it’s made of cheaper plastic resin material, it’s prone to splitting and could lead to major water bursts.”
In that case, the pipes need to be replaced with sturdier materials.
Burst flexi hoses
Flexible hoses are often used to connect a water supply to taps and fixtures in a home. Known as a flexi hose, these rubber pipes are covered in layers of braided stainless steel and are popular because they can be bent into shape.
The hoses, commonly found under kitchen and bathroom sinks, have a limited lifespan and require regular checks to ensure they’re not at risk of bursting and flooding your home.
Be sure to check the condition of these hoses around your home. Warning signs include rust or corrosion and bulging or fraying. If you find any signs of damage, contact your plumber to install new hoses.
Leaking ceiling pipes
If you have water pipes running through your ceiling, be aware that any leaks from the ceiling may be related to the pipes rather than rain getting in. You might notice watermarks, mould and stains, as well as flaking plasterboard and ceiling paint.
Faulty dishwashers are a common cause of household flooding. Poor installation can be a problem. Care must be taken not to kink the inlet and outlet pipes or have them bent in such a way as to cause stress on the fittings. Typically, this happens when pushing the dishwasher back into place.
Faults can also occur when the appliance has not been thoroughly maintained.
A clogged dishwasher filter can lead to bigger issues. The filter collects debris and food waste and needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid leaks.
You may be experiencing leaks from doors seals that have become loose. Older dishwashers might need to have their door seals replaced as they get brittle over time.
It’s also a good idea to check the water valve that is feeding water from your home’s water supply. If the valve is damaged, that is most likely the cause of your leak. Have a plumber come out and test your inlet valve.
A leak from a fridge that is plumbed into your water supply can be significant.
These fridges are connected to the household water supply to produce cold water and ice. If possible, periodically check the pipes that connect to the water dispenser and icemaker for leaks.
In the event of a leak, find the shut-off valve and turn off the water supply to the fridge then contact a plumber.
A common cause of refrigerator leaks is a blocked defrost drain. When functional, the drain removes water from the fridge during the defrost cycle. If ice and morsels of food become lodged in the drain, water pools at the bottom of the fridge. A simple solution is to flush the drain with hot water, but if the problem persists, you’ll need to contact a technician.
A leaking fridge can also be caused by a damaged drain pan or water filter. Over time, these can crack and release water. If this happens, those parts may need to be replaced under the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Overflowing washing machines
On average, modern water-saving washing machines use up to 40 to 75 litres of water per load. That’s a lot of water if the machine is faulty and starts leaking.
Whether you’ve got a top loader or a front loader, leaks can occur throughout the wash cycle for various reasons. If the washing machine is leaking even before you begin a cycle, it may be that your hoses are not connected properly or damaged.
If you notice a pool of water on the floor, switch off the machine at the wall and unplug the cord, making sure it doesn’t touch the wet floor. Mop up around the affected area so that it’s dry, then pull the machine away from the wall and inspect the connections to the hot and cold water hoses.
Ensure the hoses are watertight and that the outlet hose is secure in the laundry sink. Put the machine on a regular wash, without adding dirty clothes or detergent, and see if the leaking persists.
If it does, that could mean there’s a problem with the water inlet valve. At this point, it’s best to contact a professional plumber.
Something as simple as turning on a tap to fill a basin and then getting distracted can cause damaging flooding in your home.
While bathrooms and laundries have a waste outlet on the floor, the best advice here is to simply not leave sinks and tubs unattended while they are being filled.
If you’re considering replacing a sink or bathtub, make sure the new one has an overflow to prevent this from happening.
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