A leaky pipe can be anything from a mild annoyance to something that could end up causing some serious water damage over time if left alone. Finding a leaky pipe can be difficult once you suspect that you have a leak somewhere inside or outside the house. Thankfully, there are a few clear signs that might lead you in the right direction when you think there’s something wrong with your plumbing. Here are what you need to keep a look out for to know when it might be time to call a plumber.
Low Water Pressure
The first major sign of a leak is if you start noticing a drop off in water pressure. Depending on the severity of the leak, the pressure change might be subtle if it’s only a minor leak or even unnoticeable. Larger leaks will have a bigger drop in pressure, possibly leaving you with just a little water trickling out of your faucet as the rest is pouring out of a leak somewhere in your piping. If you see a big drop in pressure, turn off the faucet to prevent water from leaking further. If you get no pressure at all and water doesn’t even leave the pipe, it might be an indication of a frozen pipe rather than a leak.
Damage to Walls and Ceilings
Water and moisture can easily damage walls and ceilings, even with minor leaks. The first thing you might notice with a minor leak is that the paint on your wall starts to bubble. There might also be damp spots or the occasional droplet coming from a ceiling. Water leaking on the other side of the wall or ceiling can seep through the wood or sheetrock, causing it to start to warp, which then causes the paint to start bubbling as the surface under it starts to change shape. In more extreme cases, you might even see the wall or ceiling start to sag or bulge as the water causes even more severe buckling. Depending on where the leak is, this might also cause structural damage if water is damaging a support beam or a load-bearing wall.
Mysterious Increase in Your Water Bill
If your water bill has skyrocketed recently and you haven’t changed anything about your water usage, it might be a clue that there’s a hidden leak somewhere consuming a good chunk of water. If you don’t track your water usage from month to month, or the change in your bill isn’t dramatic because there’s only a small leak, this might be one of the more difficult types of leaks to detect.
Mold or Mildew
Mold and mildew thrive in a dark, moist environment, and since most of your pipes run through floors and ceilings, a leaky pipe provides the perfect setting for mold and mildew to thrive. If you notice patches of mold growing on your walls or ceiling, it’s a very strong sign that you have a leak somewhere nearby. Mold and mildew can be even more problematic than just a leak since they tend to release spores, which not only let the growth spread to other parts of your home potentially unnoticed but can also cause health problems depending on the type of mold that’s growing. If you notice mold starting to grow, it might be a good idea to call in a professional mold remediation company to evaluate the situation and remove all the mold. You also might have to have the affected section of the wall or ceiling replaced.
Musty Smells and Odors
Water damage and leaks tend to leave musty smells and odors as all sorts of things start to grow around the area of the leak. If you have some unexplainable musty smell or odor somewhere in your home, it might be a sign you have a leak nearby. The musty odor could also be an indication that mold or mildew is growing behind a wall where you can’t see it. On the other hand, the musty smell might simply be coming from stagnant water that is sitting behind a wall or in a ceiling.
Check Your Water Meter
Your water meter actually has the ability to detect leaks. Your water meter will pick up on abnormally large volumes of water usage and, after hitting a certain point, will notify the homeowner that there might be a leak somewhere in the plumbing. The problem is that your meter has no way of telling you exactly where the leak is.
A Dripping Sound
If you hear a dripping sound, or worse yet, the sound of running water, it can be a clear sign you have a leak. The good news about this is that the sound can actually help clue you in as to where exactly the leak might be originating from. If you hear a dripping sound, check the last faucet you had on and inspect the visible pipes for leaks. If you don’t see any leaks in the visible pipes, remember to tell us where you heard the dripping when you contact us to take care of the problem.
How to Locate Your Leak
There are a few ways you can find out the general area where your leak is. One is to use a leak detector. Leak detectors can detect even the smallest amount of water and will let out a loud alarm when they detect a leak. While this is better for appliances or exposed pipes, it can help detect more subtle leaks.
If you have multiple faucets that have had a drop in pressure, it’s likely that the leak is farther down the pipeline before the pipes branch off to each of the faucets. Mark each of the faucets where you notice a drop in pressure so that your plumber can get an idea of where the leak might be.
What to Do if You Have a Leak
If you know where the leak is, you can shut off the water to the leaky pipe if it is visible to keep it from leaking more. If you don’t know where the leak is and you suspect it’s a larger-sized leak, you can shut off the main water valve to cut off the water supply to the entire house to prevent water from pouring out of the leaky pipe. Once you’ve stopped the water supply to the leaky pipe, give Express Plumbing Heating & Air a call to schedule an inspection and get an estimate for repairs. The certified professionals from Express Plumbing Heating & Air will be able to assess the situation, locate exactly where the leak is, and handle the repair process so that you can get your plumbing system back in working order as soon as possible.
Express Plumbing Heating & Air also offers other plumbing and repair services, such as drain repair and cleaning and duct cleaning. In addition, we offer heating and air conditioning installation, repair, and maintenance services, as well as UV light installation for your HVAC system. Call Express Plumbing Heating & Air to schedule an appointment with a certified professional to get your plumbing and HVAC systems back in working order.