Plumbing leaks are common problems for homeowners. In fact, the majority of homes in America have hidden leaks that may be causing unseen damage and slowly growing worse. Even a minor leak can waste thousands of gallons of water each year. Detecting those leaks and having them repaired as quickly as possible is essential for preventing water waste, damage, and increasingly expensive repairs.
That being said, some leaks are more obvious than others. They can develop anywhere in a home’s plumbing system from its faucets to pipes lying deep underground. In many cases, hiring a plumber in your area is the most effective way to seek out and resolve leaks before they have a chance to cause serious damage. In the meantime, you can take certain measures to find those leaks on your own.
One of the most straightforward ways to detect plumbing leaks is to do a visual inspection of your home. Look for discoloration or dark stains on your walls, ceilings, and floors. Check for damp or swollen areas in the walls and peeling or bubbling paint or wallpaper. Keep an eye out for unexplained puddles under sinks and around toilets or appliances. Look for rust, mold, or mildew on visible pipes and around fixtures. The sooner you notice these issues, the sooner you’ll be able to get them fixed.
Check Your Water Usage
Another way to detect leaks is to monitor your water consumption. Consider checking your water meter for unexplained spikes in water usage. To do this, turn off all the faucets and appliances that use water. Then, check the reading on your water meter. Wait a few hours, using as little water as possible, and check the meter again. If the reading has significantly increased, you probably have a hidden leak. Take notice of any sudden and unexplained increases in your monthly water bill, too. If it’s far higher one month than it was the last and your family’s water consumption hasn’t changed, an undiscovered leak could be to blame.
Listen for Unusual Sounds
Listen for sounds of leaks as well. Unusual hissing and dripping noises coming from pipes and fixtures are surefire signs of leaks. If it sometimes sounds like water is running even though no appliances or faucets are in use, you most likely have a plumbing leak. These sounds are usually easiest to hear during quiet moments when the television is turned off and the HVAC system isn’t running.
Check Your Water Pressure
Low water pressure can indicate a leak, too. You’re probably aware of what the normal water pressure coming from your sink and bathtub faucets feels like. If it seems weaker than usual, there may be a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. Sudden, temporary drops in water pressure may happen from time to time, but if the water flowing from your faucets is consistently weaker than it should be, a leak could be the culprit.
Foundation Cracks or Soggy Soil
As mentioned earlier, some leaks develop in pipes that are under your home or buried underground. Those aren’t so easy to spot. Keep a check on your home’s foundation. If you notice cracks starting to form, unseen leaks could be causing the soil around your house to shift. Unexplained puddles and soggy areas in your yard are signs of leaks as well. If there’s a patch of grass in your yard that always seems to be greener and thicker than the rest of the lawn, you may have a slow underground leak in that area.
Some unpleasant odors are also warning signs of leaks. If you smell rotten eggs or sewage around your home, you may have a sewer line leak. This odor sometimes coincides with those previously mentioned soggy spots in the yard.
Catching Leaks Before They Get Out of Hand
Leaks are common problems for homeowners, and they tend to get worse over time. They can cause serious damage and lead to expensive water bills and even more costly repairs. The simple measures listed here can help you stay on top of leaks and keep them from getting out of hand. If you think you have a leak, contact a plumber as quickly as possible. Plumbers have advanced tools like pressure testing equipment, pipe inspection cameras, thermal imagers, and other resources to pinpoint those problems and effectively resolve them.