A Look at Leaks Know Holes Barred

Water leaks are the bane of many an apartment owner—and many a building superintendent. The innocent drip-drip-drip sound can augur waterfall-like hardship if not properly addressed. Leaks can cause major structural damage, ruin property, and set the stage for a potentially worse problem: mold growth.

Furthermore, leaks are not exactly rare—American Leak Detection, a nationwide company, claims to have discovered 1.4 million leaks last year alone. So how do you spot leaks? How do you stop them? How can you prevent the spread of mold and keep your home safe? Let's take a look.

Common Causes

"Ninety percent of all damage to a home is caused by water—either in liquid or vapor form," says Stuart Somerville, the owner and chief inspector for National Property Inspections, in Neptune, New Jersey.

The most common source of leaks is faulty plumbing. Sometimes a water main bursts in the basement, which, while a major headache, at least has the advantage of being easily detected and therefore repaired quickly and easily.

Unfortunately, most plumbing leaks are more subtle. The only way to notice them is by the damage they cause—water-stained ceiling tiles, wet patches on sheetrock, soft spots at the base of the toilet, and so forth. By then, of course, what might have started as a minor leak has already morphed into a big problem.

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