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Common Causes of Plumbing Leaks

4 minutes read

Plumbing leaks can lead to significant property damage, costly repairs, and water waste. While some leaks can be due to sudden, unforeseen events, many stem from preventable factors that, if adequately addressed, can significantly reduce the risk of water damage and the associated costs. Explore some of the most common causes of plumbing leaks.

Broken or Damaged Seals

Seals, often made of rubber or other flexible materials, create watertight connections between different plumbing components such as pipes, valves, and fixtures. When these seals become compromised, either through wear and tear, age, or physical damage, they lose their ability to maintain a tight seal, allowing water to escape.

For instance, a damaged seal on a pipe joint can result in water seepage, leading to leaks that can worsen over time. Similarly, worn-out gaskets in faucets or valves can cause water to drip or flow continuously, resulting in water wastage and potential damage to surrounding structures. 

Clogged Lines

When debris, grease, or other substances accumulate and block water flow, it creates a bottleneck effect, causing water to back up and exert undue pressure on the pipes. This excessive pressure can result in the weakening of the pipe material over time, leading to cracks or ruptures. 

Additionally, clogs can trap water, leading to corrosion and deterioration of the pipe material, making it more prone to leakage. Moreover, the stagnant water from clogs can gradually erode the pipe walls, compromising their structural integrity and eventually leading to leaks.


When pipes are made of metal, such as iron or steel, and come into contact with water or certain chemicals, they can undergo a process known as oxidation, resulting in the formation of rust. This rust weakens the pipe’s integrity, making it susceptible to cracks and fissures. 

Over time, these weak points can develop into leaks, causing water to escape from the plumbing system. Additionally, the buildup of corrosion products can constrict the water flow, leading to blockages and increased pressure that further exacerbate the likelihood of leaks. 

Damaged Pipe Joints

Pipe joints serve as connections between different sections of plumbing pipes, ensuring a secure and watertight seal. When these joints become compromised, leaks can occur. Damage can result from various factors, including aging, excessive pressure, corrosion, or physical impact.

One of the primary causes of leaking due to damaged pipe joints is the breakdown of the sealing material. Over time, the sealing compound or material used to create a watertight connection can deteriorate, leading to gaps and openings. Similarly, physical damage or excessive pressure can cause the joints to warp or break, disrupting the integrity of the seal. 

Corrosion, often caused by chemical reactions with the water or the surrounding environment, can weaken the joint material, making it susceptible to leaks. Inadequate installation practices, such as improper sealing or incorrect fitting, can weaken pipe joints and subsequent leaks.

Tree Root Infiltration

As roots naturally seek out water and nutrients, they can infiltrate and penetrate small cracks or joints in plumbing lines. Over time, these roots can exert pressure on the pipes, causing them to crack or break, leading to leaks.

The infiltration process can be exacerbated by moisture or small leaks around the pipes, which attract the roots and encourage further growth. As the roots expand within the pipes, they can block the water flow, leading to clogs and potentially causing significant damage to the plumbing system.

Drastic Temperature Change

When the temperature fluctuates rapidly, particularly during extreme weather conditions, the materials used in plumbing systems, such as pipes and fixtures, expand or contract accordingly. If the plumbing components are unable to accommodate these changes, it can lead to stress on the system, which eventually results in leaks.

Arnold & Sons Plumbing, Sewer and Drain Services, offers plumbing services at affordable rates. We can find and fix any plumbing leaks. Contact us now for more information.