Water leaks can be the stuff of nightmares, able to create a range of problems in your home. From pungent damp areas that create smelly rooms, to structural damage that can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Being able to identify water leaks is critical, and thankfully, there’s a number of ways to do so.
Here’s 10 common signs of a water leak in your home.
1. Wet spots
One of the clearest signs of a water leak are wet spots on the floor or walls, although these can be difficult to spot if the leak is small. If you notice some discoloration, check whether there’s any wet or dampness by running your hand over it. It’ll often be accompanied by spots of mould.
You may also notice pools of water in your garden, or a particular area of grass that is thriving compared to the rest. This suggests that there’s a leak in an underground pipe, which requires the help of a plumber.
2. Mould patches
If you want to know how to find a water leak in your house, look no further than mould patches. When an area of the house is constantly wet (e.g. your shower), mould will form, usually appearing as black or white spots. Mould can grow on most surfaces, and under the right conditions, can appear within a speedy 24 hours .
Mould is handy for leak detection, but can be dangerous for those with respiratory problems. Spotting large patches of mould in your home is a strong indication of a leak.
It’s tough knowing how to find a water leak inside a wall, but stains might be your unlikely saviour. If an area is regularly wetted from a water leak, it’ll become stained, discoloured, or blistered, which is easy to identify. Again, this might be accompanied by mould, or a musty smell that pervades the nostrils.
4. A larger bill than usual
With water constantly leaking, your bill will increase. If it’s increased substantially and you’re confident that you haven’t been using more water than usual, you should try to detect a leak yourself using the suggestions in this article, before calling a plumber. It’s worth noting that a running toilet leak is a common reason for a higher bill , which can be identified by removing the toilet’s lid and checking the cistern.
If you have a smart meter, you can identify a potential leak by stopping your water usage (faucet, toilet, shower, etc.) for a while, and then checking whether the meter numbers have increased.
5. Musty smell
When areas of your home become wet or damp, they’re often accompanied by a musty smell caused by pools of still water, or spores of mould that permeate through the property. If you start to notice this kind of odour in your home and can’t spot any mould, it might be growing behind an appliance, or somewhere equally difficult to see.
6. Soft or flexible areas
Signs of water damage in walls can be difficult to spot, but more easily discovering by pressing down on the suspected areas. Wood and other construction materials are hygroscopic , which means they absorb water over time, and become soft when constantly wet. When you have a water leak, you may notice that parts of your wall or ceiling are saggy and flexible, which can affect the structural integrity of your home. There might even be visible depressions, which could indicate a more serious leak, or more worryingly, a termite infestation.
If there’s a water leak in your bathroom, you might find the tiling to be spongy or soft, or coming away from its surface after losing its adhesion.
If water from a leak is accumulating outside, there may be unstable areas of brickwork or paving, which the water has softened and moved.
7. Low water pressure
If you’ve noticed a drop in pressure for your faucets or shower, and are confident that water isn’t being used elsewhere in your home, there may be a leak. The pressure change could be regular or intermittent, but both point to a potential plumbing problem in your home, whether a water leak or something more serious.
You can also identify low water pressure from trickling faucets, dripping showerheads, and whether appliances such as your dishwasher or washing machine take a long time to fill.
8. Sound of trickling water
If your faucets are off and you can hear the soft trinkle of flowing water, and your home isn’t next to a quaint countryside stream, you probably have a leak. Before calling a plumber, try to identify where the noise is coming from, and check whether it’s accompanied by any wet spots or mould.
9. Broken or disconnected appliances
Appliances can be culprits of water leaks, whether through manufacturer faults, water hosing disconnecting from faucets, or regular old wear and tear. You can identify whether your appliance is leaking by checking for pools of water underneath it, and ensuring that the water hose is connected. Nearby walls, cupboards, and benches should also be inspected for stains or discolouration.
10. Supply line fault
If you’re found signs of a water leak but are struggling to figure out where it’s coming from, it might be an issue with the underground supply line, which unfortunately, is your responsibility to fix. The supply line is often difficult to reach, so it’s best to contact a plumber to help.
Water leaks are a pain, and can curse you with expensive problems. But with the right knowledge, they can be easily spotted and fixed before they cause any damage to your home.