Keeping Plumbing Leaks at Bay

The primary cause of plumbing leaks is stress on the pipes. The stress comes from water pressure that is too high inside the pipes, and also from mineral buildup that increases the water pressure. So, it is important to keep an eye on these things because replacing the plumbing in a 1,500-square-foot house can run anywhere from $2,000 to as much as $15,000.

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Water Pressure

It’s nice having a lot of water pressure when you are taking a shower or filling up a large pot from your kitchen faucet. But the increased pressure is hard on pipes, increasing the probability that you may get a leak. The higher pressure shortens the life of your plumbing system, making pipe joints, faucets and valves work harder.

So, you need to find out what your water pressure is. To do this, you use what is called a hose bib gauge. You can buy this device at a hardware store for under $10. What you do is attach the device to an outside faucet and then turn on the water. The water pressure should be between 40 and 85 psi (pounds per square inch). If it is higher than this, you should think about getting a plumber to come in to reduce the pressure by installing a pressure reducer.

Mineral Buildup

Another problem that can increase water pressure is mineral buildup. Water that has a high mineral content is called hard water, and it can cause leaks if not addressed. The minerals in the water are usually magnesium and calcium. These minerals build up inside the pipes, forcing the water to go through a smaller opening, which increases the pressure. Moreover, these minerals can cause corrosion in joints and fittings.

You generally find hard water in the Southwest and Northeast. You can usually tell if you have hard water if you see a white buildup around your shower head or faucets.

There is only one way to take care of a hard water problem, and that is by installing a water softener. There are two types of softeners. The more traditional type uses sodium to counteract the minerals in the water. Newer types use electromagnetic pulses to dissolve the minerals.

The more traditional types require a plumber to install, which can cost from $500 to $1,500. The newer electronic types cost only about $150, and you can install it yourself.

If you’re having trouble with your water pressure, or if you’ve noticed some leaks in places you just can’t reach, contact the Dallas plumbing experts at Plumbing Dynamics. We’re happy to come out and recommend affordable water softeners, fix the pressure and/or fix leaks as needed.  Give us  call at 214-929-3431 or send us an e-mail message.

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