DIY Leak Detection: How To Find Plumbing Leaks in Your Home

plumbing leakWater damage can lead to expensive and icky problems when leaks go undetected. While quality plumbing materials are super-strong and last for decades, the occasional bad connection, clog, or extreme weather can cause damage to pipes that result in a drip or leak. Thankfully, early leak detection can be as simple as stopping, looking, and listening around your home. Here are six easy ways to find plumbing leaks in your home without fancy equipment or skills.

1. Pay Attention to Your Water Bill

Utility bills fluctuate seasonally, but if you’re noticing a sustained increase in your water bill, you may consider checking around for plumbing leaks. Water bills typically remain relatively steady over time. Spikes can occur from time to time if you fill a swimming pool, water your landscape regularly during a dry summer, or other predictable circumstances. But aside from these seasonal peaks, your water bill should not increase over time.

2. Listen for Mysterious Dripping Sounds

Every building comes with its own quirks, including phantom noises that make our ears perk up. Thankfully, dripping sounds are a clear-cut indicator of a leak. Only liquid can create a dripping sound, and you shouldn’t hear a constant drip from anywhere in your plumbing. If your faucets drip, consider replacing them. If you hear mysterious dripping sounds and your fixtures seem okay, start checking under sinks and anywhere you can easily see. From there, contact a professional plumber to investigate further.

3. Look for Visible Water Damage

Brown, dark, or discolored spots in cabinets under a sink, around the base of a tub or toilet, or on the ceilings usually mean there’s a leak near the area and you’ll want to identify the source as soon as possible. Spots from water damage lead to cracks, mold growth, or other expensive and hazardous damage to your home.

4. Look for Cracks in the Ceiling or Walls

Cracked ceilings or walls can be a sign of leaky plumbing. Yes, in older homes with plaster walls and ceilings, it’s common to see cracks. But old or new, if you see a crack in the wall or ceiling, feel around the area to see if it’s soft and wet, discolored, or otherwise indicating moisture. If it’s an area right below or near a bathroom, be sure to check closely for indications of a leak.

5. Investigate Musty Smells

Musty smells indicate high moisture levels, moisture buildup, and sometimes mold. And a plumbing leak could be the source of increased moisture in the air. If your basement or crawl space is smelling extra-musty, start looking for water buildup around pipes and fixtures. Or if you notice musty smells anywhere throughout your home, start checking your pipes and fixtures for drips or collecting water. If there are no visible signs, pay closer attention to other signs such as dripping sounds, rising water bills, or changing meter readings.

6. Look for Changing Water Meter Readings

Interestingly enough, your water meter can help you detect plumbing leaks in your home. An abrupt change in readings means you have a leak. To locate your water meter, look for a manhole-type cover near the street, then try these steps to find out if you have a plumbing leak:

  • Make sure no water is running. Turn off all water faucets, the washing machine, and the dishwasher.
  • Check the water meter and make a note of the numbers you see.
  • Wait one hour, then check the meter again. If the numbers have changed, there’s a leak somewhere.

What To Do if You Discover a Plumbing Leak

Once you make a habit of paying close attention to your home, it’s easier to spot a problem. If you determine there’s a leak that needs repair, or if you’re simply not sure if it’s a leak or not, contact Andreas Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for leak detection services. Team Andreas is highly skilled at finding the source of any potential plumbing issue in eastern Pennsylvania homes.

Call Andreas today at (610) 377-5261 if you suspect a leak in your plumbing.