A leak in the basement can spell disaster for any homeowner. Water damage is costly to repair and may lead to mold and mildew growth if not addressed quickly. Unfortunately, many homeowners notice a leak downstairs when it’s too late. Here are some tips to prevent basement plumbing leaks before they happen.

Areas to Prevent Basement Plumbing Leaks

Washing Machine Leaks

One of the most common causes of leaks in the basement is a washing machine that isn’t correctly installed or maintained. Ensure the hoses are securely attached to the washing machine and the water supply lines to prevent your washing machine from leaking. Over time, hoses can become loose or develop cracks; check them regularly for signs of wear and tear. If you notice cracks or deterioration, replace the hose immediately.

It’s also a good idea to install a water shut-off valve near your washing machine to quickly turn off the water supply if a leak occurs.

Water Heater Leaks

Another common cause of leaks in the basement is a water heater that isn’t properly maintained. To prevent your water heater from leaking, make sure the temperature is set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature is set too high, the pressure in the tank can become too great and cause a leak.

Check the anode rod regularly and replace it if necessary. The anode rod helps prevent tank corrosion, which can lead to leaks.

Make sure there is at least a half-inch gap between the cold water inlet and outlet pipes and the side of the tank. Adequate space will allow any expansion of hot water to occur without causing damage to the pipes or tank.

Preventing Plumbing Pipes from Freezing

Another way to prevent plumbing leaks in the basement is to ensure that your pipes don’t freeze during cold weather. When water freezes, it expands and may cause pipes to burst. To prevent this from happening, insulate all exposed plumbing with foam pipe insulation sleeves. Seal gaps or cracks around doors, windows, and service openings to keep out drafts.

During extremely cold weather, open cabinet doors below sinks so warm air can circulate around the pipes. Let your faucets drip slightly to keep water moving through the pipes and prevent them from freezing.

Plumbing Leaks in Basement Bathrooms

If you have a bathroom in your basement, additional steps are needed to prevent plumbing leaks. Caulk around all fixtures – toilets, sinks, showers, and tubs – to create a barrier against moisture intrusion. Use mildew-resistant caulk for best results.

Consider installing an ejector pump if your basement bathroom doesn’t have one already. An ejector pump helps to remove sewage and wastewater from below-grade bathrooms, so they don’t back up into your home and cause costly damage.

While most homeowners don’t usually think about the plumbing until something goes wrong, taking some proactive steps can save you a lot of headaches and money down the road. Following these tips to prevent plumbing leaks in your basement helps keep your home dry and mold-free all year.

Cowan Inspections Group offers home inspections to Park City and the surrounding areas of Utah. Contact us to schedule an appointment.