“A small leak may sink a great ship.” This proverb is a reminder that even a minor problem can become a major one if it’s not attended to in a timely fashion.
So while a leaky pipe may not be a catastrophe—at least not right away—the real issue is the cumulative effect. A water leak, no matter how small, can lead to costly headaches down the road.
Leaks Can Go Undetected
Sometimes it’s obvious when a pipe is leaking, as when your basement floods or you notice water dripping from the ceiling. But oftentimes leaks go unnoticed until your water bill spikes, drywall crumbles or mold forms along a wall.
Remember that leaks can happen anywhere there is pipe. Nothing is impervious to deterioration and damage—not copper, PVC, CPVC, PEX tubing or anything else.
Some sneaky signs of a leak include soggy soil, yellow stains on the ceiling or walls, mold, mildew and even structural rot. But a higher-than-normal water bill is oftentimes the first clue that you have a leaky pipe.
Leaky Pipes Can Attract Pests
Pests are attracted to moisture. If there’s an abundant source of water in or around your home, chances are it will attract unwanted visitors.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s blog notes that “most people are unaware of the association between plumbing problems and pests.”
What kind of pests might move in uninvited? To begin with: Cockroaches, carpenter ants, silverfish, scary-looking camel crickets, mosquitoes and a host of other undesirable creatures. And where insects live, arachnids—spiders—aren’t far behind.
As for larger pests, mice and rats are at the top of the list. So if you don’t fix leaky pipes you may need more than just a plumber; you may need an exterminator, too.
Leaking Pipes Are the Enemy of Wood and Concrete
As we’re sure you know, water and wood are not the best of friends. Water from a leaking pipe can soften wood, encourage mold and eventually lead to rot. If there’s a leak in a wall or under your home, all the wood that comes in contact with the water is likely to suffer damage.
At the same time, concrete isn’t impervious to water damage either. Water can rust the reinforcing steel, which in turn causes concrete to crack. And waterlogged concrete tends to crack in freezing weather because frozen water expands. If you suddenly notice cracks in the concrete in your home, a leaky pipe may be to blame.
Billing adjustment policy for water leaks
With most plumbing out of sight, leaky pipes may go unnoticed for weeks or longer. By the time you notice, your water bill may have risen to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Policies vary, but many municipalities and utilities have tight restrictions on whether or how much they’ll credit your account for water lost due to a leak. In some locations, homeowners are responsible for every leak that happens on their side of the meter. In others, partial credit is possible, but only if the leak is underground.
Nashville Water Leak Bill Adjustment
For its part, Nashville.gov offers a helpful online resource explaining its water services customer service policies. As of the writing of this post, “Metro Water Services will adjust for concealed leaks once they have been repaired. Consumers will receive one month’s water and sewer credit during a twelve month period. Consumers with underground leaks that have been repaired will be eligible for an additional month sewer credit.”
Franklin Water Leak Bill Adjustment
As for Franklin, “the city adjusts water/sewer bills for leaks to customer-owned water distribution systems as a courtesy” (one leak adjustment allowed in a 12-month period), and offers a leak adjustment form on the city’s Web site.
Brentwood Water Leak Bill Adjustment
Meanwhile, Brentwood recently approved a new billing adjustment policy for water leaks, which was implemented after several residents were hit with enormous water bills due to underground water leaks. “One of those residents spoke at a City Commission meeting in December  and shared the story of how he was presented with a $3,800 water bill after belatedly finding out about one such leak,” noted Brentwood Home Page.
As a result, Brentwood’s policy is currently defined as follows: “If the city detects excessive water usage at a certain address it will calculate the customer’s average water consumption for the three-month period the year before. So, for instance, if a water leak occurs in November, the city will calculate the customer’s average water usage from October, November and December the year before…. If the excess amount exceeds the average by at least 50 percent, then the customer is eligible for a special reimbursement.”
Jewell Mechanical Can Fix Your Leaking Pipes
As you can see, the prospect of a leak adjustments is dependent, in part, on who provides your water. If you suspect you have a leaking pipe in or around your home, give Jewell Mechanical a call. We offer residential leak detection services and our licensed and bonded plumbers are available to do routine plumbing repairs as well as emergency service. Contact us online or call
us at (615) 469-5965.
Jewell Mechanical also offers a Plumbing Maintenance Agreement—the plumbing version of our HVAC Maintenance Agreement—for additional peace of mind. We provide residential and commercial plumbing services in Davidson County and most of the rest of Middle Tennessee.