You can have a plumbing leak, but not realize it until it causes damage. Leaks are a common plumbing problem in both old and new houses. Many leaks happen in hidden areas like under floors or in the walls. These are places most people don’t think to look for leaks. They tend to start small and get bigger over time unless caught early. Here are some ways to tell if you have a hidden leak and ways to pinpoint what pipe or fixture is the culprit.
Pay Attention to Your Meter
The first time many people realize they have a leak is when they look at their bill. If you notice your bill or water usage is higher, but you haven’t changed anything in your household, then you could have a water leak. Unless you have recently added a new fixture, or taken on a new roommate or tenant, your bill should be fairly steady every month.
Check Your Tub or Shower
Showers and tubs are common places for leaks that many people miss. Many of these leaks do not add to the water bill because they only occur when you shower or bathe. However, they can still cause damage to your floors and walls. Leaks around drains and through tiles are very common. Your shower doors could also let water out to damage your bathroom floor as well.
Test Your Toilet
Toilet problems both wastewater and cause damage to your floors. The small, round rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank is notorious for leaks. These flappers wear down over time, slowly break apart and allow water to flow through to the bowl and out the pipe. Your toilet will run off and on to keep the water level topped off. You can test this problem with dye in your tank. If the bowl water changes color, then you have a leak.
Another way toilets leak is through the flange at the bottom. This can damage the floor as well as the ceiling if the bathroom is on the upper level. The toilet may also feel loose and even begin to rock back and forth. If ignored too long, then the toilet can break through the floor.
Look Up at Your Ceiling
A leaky pipe or bathroom fixture on the upper floor can cause discoloration in the ceiling. Water may even drip down and the ceiling can sag once the water saturates it. If left on to its own devices too long, then the ceiling could collapse and cause further and more severe damage below.
Sniff the Air
Wet drywall, wood, and particle boards have a distinct smell once they are saturated. Over time, you may notice a musty or even a moldy smell. Part of the problem with this is you sometimes become accustomed to slowly worsening smells in your own home unless you are away for a while. If you aren’t sure, ask a non-household member if they can smell it as well.
Examine Your Walls
Most people don’t think to check for a leak inside the walls. Chances are your home has a maze of pipes behind the drywall. Aside from obvious wet spots, you may see a swath of small black spots as well. These black spots are likely mold. Paint may also bubble up and peel off. If you have wallpaper, then it will sag or peel off if you have a leak on the other side of the wall.
Leaks aren’t always easy to pinpoint or fix, so call a professional plumber if you suspect a leak. Two Men and a Snake can help you find those leaks and repair them for you. We offer 24-hour service, seven days a week for your convenience. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call any time.