Let’s look into an actual issue that popped up a few years ago! On New Year’s Day, a call came through from a family member who was house sitting long term and discovered a small leak in the basement of the home where she was staying.  

The leak was directly above the kitchen floor. Being a close member of the family, she knew there were a few steps she had to take to find the leak and correct it before the water problem because a full flood. She tried to locate the water source, but couldn’t find any noticeable cause of the water.

After rushing over to the home, I reviewed the most frequent causes of residential water leaks.

Typical Causes of Residential Water Leaks

  • Pipe Bursts – common in cold weather, a burst pipe generally happens when water freezes and expands within the pipe itself. This can cause the pipe to burst out of the pipe wall or directly on a weak pipe joint.

  • Damaged Refrigerator Water LinesThe waterline of your refrigerator is responsible for dispensing filtered water and keeping your automatic ice maker stocked. When this line is damaged, it can cause major (or minor) flooding that may not be noticeable if the leak is slow.

  • Leaky Dishwasher – There are several ways that a dishwasher can cause flooding in your home. A door that is not latching properly or damaged rubber sealing on the door can cause water to pool and puddle under the appliance. A corroded tub that does not drain can also cause a dishwasher to leak and lead to a potential flood in your home. Depending on the severity of this problem, your dishwasher may need to be replaced. Damaged valves and alignment issues are two other concerns that can cause dishwashers to leak and flood.

  • Sump Pump IssuesThe main job of a sump pump is to keep water away from your home. When a sump pump stops working, it causes major issues! Build up of debris can cause a sump pump to stop pulling water away from your home and instead cause the appliance to flood into your basement.

These are just a few of the typical issues that can cause residential water leaks. They make great places to start your investigation when attempting to locate the source of the water problem.

Investigating the Problem

Once I arrived at the home, I inspected the basement. The wet ceiling tile had already been removed, a bucket put beneath the leak ready to catch any drips from above, and a fan was set up starting to dry out the wet carpet.

The odd thing was the floor in the kitchen seemed to be dry. We went through the usual issues. Discovering no leaks in the sink, no refrigerator water drips, and the floor under the dishwasher was completely dry.

The drip was in the middle of the floor, not near any water pipes or any other water source – only adding to the puzzle!

We did learn that the dishwasher had run the night before, but there was no leakage during the usage! Removing more tiles in the basement and inspecting water lines showed no problems. No burst pipes, no water meter leaks, everything seemed to be in good working order!

It was a complete mystery – there seemed to be no good reason for the basement to have any sort of water leak from the kitchen above!

Discovering the Issue

As we talked about earlier, this was a long term house sitting assignment. Life went on perfectly for a few months until I received a call that the leak had returned!

This time, it turned out to be the dishwasher. It had backed up and overflowed onto the floor. The leak was exactly in the same spot it had been in January when it was first reported!

We learned that this model had a history of intermittent problems and random flooding or leaks were normal for owners!

The moral of the story is simple – it pays to keep an eye on all your appliances. Make sure that they are maintained and in working order before they cause major water damage to your property!

Contact A&J today for water damage clean up emergencies and services by A&J Specialty Services Inc DKI of Madison, Sun Prairie, Milwaukee, WI Dells, Fort Atkinson, Watertown, and Waukesha, WisconsinIf you do experience water damage, the experts at A&J Property Restoration DKI are here to help you find and correct the problem quickly, with minimal damage. We’re available 24/7 for emergencies, and service the Milwaukee and Madison areas! Contact us today for more information.