Finding a water leak in your home can be frustrating. Leaking water can cause damage, so the quicker the leak is found, the less damage can occur.
Signs of Leaking Water
There are several signs you can look for that indicate leaking water.
- A higher than expected water bill
- Watermarks and discoloration of ceilings or walls
- Damp areas on the ceiling or wall
- A musty smell in your home that wasn’t there before
- Finding mold in normally dry areas
- The sound of dripping water
- Sagging or warping of the ceiling or wall
Check the Water Meter
Checking the water meter is an easy first step in finding out if there is a water leak in the home.
Once you’ve found the water meter, write down the readings. Do not use any water for at least 3 hours. If you have an ice maker in the refrigerator, you should close the water valve to it and then shut the ice maker off for this test.
After the allotted time has passed, check the readings on the water meter. If the meter shows more water usage, then there is a leak somewhere in your home’s plumbing.
Finding the Water Leak
There are several ways you can find a water leak:
- You can rent a moisture meter at the hardware store. Point the meter at suspected points along the wall or ceiling, and the meter will show the highest reading where the leak is.
- Using an infrared camera will also help find a water leak. The wettest areas of the wall or ceiling will show up as the coldest on the camera.
- The last method is removing a portion of the drywall where the suspected leak is and taking a look. Since water can travel along a pipe, the wet area or watermarked area is not necessarily where the leak is. But sometimes, this is the only step you can take.
If Not the Plumbing
If the water meter readings haven’t changed, then most likely, you don’t have a plumbing leak. But you still have the signs of leaking water.
If not the plumbing, the water could be leaking from the roof. Leaking roofs can cause water to flow into the attic, in the ceiling, and down the walls.
If not the roof or plumbing, it could be a bathtub drain or even condensation from the pipe that supplies water to the air conditioning unit.