Surprisingly enough, a plumbing leak is not always readily apparent. Many plumbing leaks occur behind walls, underneath floorboards, in ceilings, or under cabinets. Here we’ll take a look at some of the signs that can reveal hidden plumbing leaks. Keeping an eye out for these indicators can go a long way toward saving your plumbing and your pocketbook.
Mold loves dark, damp places. So if you find mildew or mold growing in corners or under cabinets, it may be a sign that water is leaking somewhere.
2. Damaged Walls and Floors
If paint is blistering, walls are warping, or floors are buckling or staining, then there is a good chance that there is water leaking. This could be from a pipe nearby, or from water that is traveling from another area of the home.
If your ceiling or walls begin to stain, this is another good indicator of leakage. Brown and yellow stains on ceilings are most often caused by water leaks.
If there are no other signs but you notice a musty or damp smell, you may have a well-hidden leak. Bring in a plumber for any smells that linger, as it can often be water that is constantly leaking and/or never able to fully dry out.
5. Rising Water Bill
If you aren’t sure you have a leak but your water bill keeps rising, you may want to try the meter test.
- Don’t use any water in your home during this test. Turn off anything that may be consuming water, such as hoses or sinks.
- Find your water meter and write down the numbers displayed.
- Wait 30 minutes.
- Return to the meter and check the numbers. If the numbers have changed, this is a good indication that you have a leak somewhere in your system.
- Shut off all toilet valves and repeat the test. If the numbers have not changed, your toilets may be running.
6. A Running Toilet
If you believe you are losing water due to a running toilet, you can do a simple food coloring test to be sure. Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank of your toilet. After 10-15 minutes, check the toilet bowl. As long as you have not flushed the toilet, there should be no color in the bowl. If there is, then there is a leak in your toilet. Luckily, cleaning or replacing the flapper should help remedy the issue.
If you have a full-blown leak or suspect one but aren’t sure, call your trusty plumber—and make haste! Plumbing leaks can be pricey and cause damage to your home—not to mention waste the precious, scarce resource that water is. Good luck!