Top 10 causes of Santa Barbara Water Leaks

Here is Our TOP 10 List

2018 is just around the corner and Santa Barbara water leaks aren’t getting any cheaper. Recent speculation points to our taps providing some of the most expensive water in the state, if not the country. Every drop still counts and even a small water leak will cost you. Here are the 10 most common causes of Santa Barbara Water leaks.

Old Plumbing

Old drain Line in Santa Barbara California

Sure, new developments are slowly being built, but most of Santa Barbara was filled in by about 1980 and so was the town’s plumbing. Every pipe has a different projected lifespan and many are reaching their expiration date.  When this happens, all hell can break loose. It is important to watch out for signs of corrosion on pipes, particularly copper and galvanized metal. Any rust is bad and will slowly wear the plumbing away.

Hard Water

Hard water mineral deposit, Santa Barbara
Calcium deposits from a leaking fountain in Montectio

Santa Barbara water percolates through a fair amount of dissolved limestone and chalk before it makes it to your tap. This gives our water a high mineral content. Although it’s not a health risk, it will wreak havoc on your plumbing fixtures. To correct this, you could install a water softener, but that can be a double edged sword.

Water Softener Cycling

Water softener equipment
Check your water softener’s cycles regularly

To keep your water clear and avoid the wear and tear of hard water, many Santa Barbarans have installed water softeners in their homes. This machine can be a great way to reduce wear on your home’s plumbing, but it can also be the source of your next water leak. It is important to monitor your water softener carefully. Check to make sure it regularly cycles and that it shuts off regularly. When left unchecked, water softeners can cycle constantly. This means water is frequently running down the drain, costing you serious money.

Running Toilet

Toilet tank internal assembly inspection
Replace the fill valve and/or flapper if your toilet is continuously running

A running toilet might be the most common cause of a Santa Barbara Water Leak. Thankfully, it’s also the easiest to fix. When you flush a toilet, it should run for only one cycle. After approximately thirty seconds, the fill valve should stop and no more water should be running. However, these valves need to be changed every few years. If you hear water continuing to run, think of it literally as flushing water down the toilet.

Leaking Faucet, Shower-Head

leaking bath tub faucet
Address any dripping faucets in a timely manner to avoid long term damage

It might start slow, but one or two of these can quickly add up. And, they only get worse. Over time, a leaking faucet will wear away your sinks and shower pans as well as add up on your water bill.

Broken irrigation valve

Broken irrigation valve, Santa Barbara
If your irrigation valves aren’t shutting off all the way, water will run through them indefinitely

It won’t flood your house or yard, but a broken irrigation valve will cost you. Just like a toilet, a broken irrigation valve won’t shut off. Water will continue to cycle. Your meter will spin. Santa Barbara city will charge you Santa Barbara Water leak prices.

Roots

Water line tree root damage, Santa Barbara
Tree’s gotta drink somehow…

Don’t the palm trees lining our streets look great? Just wait until you have to dig one out. The long fibrous roots will grab onto anything and this drought has them looking everywhere. If a pipe is running along side a tree, chances are the tree will one day grow into the line.

Bad Back-fill

water pipes repair, Santa Barbara
Make sure to put sand down first when filling pipes back in

Need a rock? Dig a hole. Whenever a pipe is dug up, it is important that at least the initial area surrounding the pipe is backfilled with soft sand. This creates a level of insulation for the pipe that protects it from unwanted intrusion(particularly rocks). However, people can be lazy. We’ve seen more than one Santa Barbara water leak caused by a single rock tossed carelessly into the fill.

Foundation Expanding

Earthquake wall damage, Santa Barbara
If the wall is giving, can you imagine the pipes behind it?

Erosion? Seismic activity? Mudslides? The next time Santa Barbara receives a large amount of rain(or an earthquake), we will most likely see a lot of water lines breaking. The ground will slip out from under us and strain the pipe to such a degree that it breaks. In the meantime, the foundation of your building can give you a good idea of where you’re at. Any sort of cracking will you know how much strain your building is under and how it might shift.  A good preventive measure would be enrolling in the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program to lessen any potential damage that may come your way.

Foundation Contracting

Water leak caused by dry soil, Santa Barbara
Dry soil slowly contracts and shrivels up

You don’t need to wait for a natural disaster, we’re technically already in one. When the ground gets dry enough, it shrivels and contracts. This too will strain the foundation of your building and the pipes in it. This is particularly common in irrigation lines that are in the ground without any external support.

So there we are. 10 potential causes of your next Santa Barbara water leak. We hope these give you some idea of where to look the next time you’re losing water. If we can be of any help, please call us at (805)-637-5559.

Thanks!

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