10 Signs You Have a Water Leak in Your Home
Nearly 10% of homes have an undetected water leak that loses them around 90 gallons of water a day.
Nobody wants to be losing money through their water pipes, not to mention the thousands of dollars worth of damage a leak could be doing to your property.
If you suspect something may be wrong in your home, read our guide about how to tell if you have a water leak and what signs to look out for.
1. Increased Water Bills
Have your water bills been creeping up recently? This could indicate that there is a leak somewhere in your system.
If you find you are using more water than usual with no obvious reasons as to why, you may want to check your property for signs of a leak.
According to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, a family of four should not exceed more than 12,000 gallons of usage per month. Check your usage against previous bills, especially in the coldest months.
If you exceed the national average by a considerable amount, you likely have a serious leak on your hands.
2. Wet Spots
Wet spots can be difficult to notice sometimes, especially if your leak is not a large one. You can see them on the floor, walls, and ceiling. They are common if your roof is leaking.
If it is a small leak, then they may dry up before you notice them, or you make think it is just a spill.
Check outside your property as well. If you notice a patch of grass that is doing far better than the rest of the lawn surrounding it, you may have an underground leak in your irrigation system.
You will need a plumber to investigate further.
After a wet patch has dried up and returned consistently for a period of time, you will notice the area becomes discolored and stained. Often if it is on a white surface, the area becomes yellowed from the water.
This is often accompanied by mold growth or mildew. If you have not noticed the recurring wet patch, you are more likely to notice the staining at a later date.
By the time staining occurs, you may also be able to notice a musty or moldy smell. This signifies that the leak is deep-set and needs a plumber to take a look at the damage.
4. Mold Growth
Mold and mildew love damp environments. It can take just 24 hours for some types of mold to grow. If an area is permanently wet, mold and mildew are likely to develop, and these could be signs of a water leak.
Mold is dangerous to live with as it causes respiratory problems. Mold spores release into the air, and when you breathe them in, they can cause serious health problems in the lungs.
Mold is often smelly too – it has a musty smell. If it is forming in a place that you can not see, you may notice the smell first.
Make sure you keep rooms well ventilated to avoid mold but first, you must deal with the water leak. Speak to a professional to make sure the mold is completely removed safely.
5. Soft Wood
Wood that has become permanently wet will become spongy to the touch. If you apply any pressure, you will feel it give way under your fingers.
Wood absorbs water making it flexible and soft. This is a sign of serious water damage and needs to be urgently investigated.
You may notice it in bathrooms if the water is leaking into the surrounding fixtures and fittings. Once the wood is damaged like this, it can not be repaired and needs to be replaced.
Remove the fixtures and look for any leaks in the wall and floor behind.
6. Peeling Paint
Peeling paint is often an early sign that a leak has taken place somewhere and may have been leaking for some time. When paint becomes damp, it no longer remains adhesive to the wall.
Sometimes it will peel away one long strip when it is still quite wet. Other times, if it has had time to dry, you may find that the paint blisters and cracks leaving the wall in flakes.
Both are signs that you need to investigate the underlying problem.
7. Poor Water Pressure
Do you find that when you shower or try to pour a glass of water, the water pressure is weaker? Many put this off as a sign that there is a fault somewhere in the mains, out in the street.
However, it can also be a sign that you are experiencing a leak on your property. If the water pressure continues to be a problem over a long period of time, speak to your water company.
If they do not know of any leaks in your area, it is time to check inside your property bounds.
8. Sagging Ceiling
When there is a large leak between floors, one of the more alarming signs can be a sagging ceiling. If the water leak is rapid and large, like an overflowing bath, then the sagging will rapidly become apparent.
But, also keep an eye out for any sagging in your ceiling areas that develop over time. These can indicate a leaking pipe that is only releasing a small amount of water.
Eventually, enough water will gather to collapse and cause major damage to your ceilings.
9. Rusted Metal
Have you found any nails in your walls that have gone rusty? This is a sign of dampness inside the walls. An untreated water leak could cause this damp.
Other signs are rusty pipes in your plumbing. Older pipes made from galvanized steel will rust if they are leaking. If you spot any rusty pipes, you should investigate the area of leaks and replace them.
10. Noisy Plumbing
Everyone hears a few bumps and bangs in the night as the air in the pipes settles. However, if you hear a constant dripping noise or find that your toilet is permanently refilling, you may have a water leak.
Toilets, in particular, become very noisy when there is a water leak. The tank will constantly take in water, and often, the piping will grumble and burp as the air moves around.
If your toilet is being very noisy, time to get a plumber to investigate what is going on.
What to Do if You Suspect a Water Leak?
Do you suspect that you have a water leak on your property? Then don’t wait to take action. You need to call in an expert plumber as soon as possible to prevent the leak from worsening.
If you are interested in waterproofing your property, please look at our services page and see how we can help you.