As a homeowner, you know that certain plumbing occurrences indicate a more serious situation. You respond quickly to a running toilet, leaking faucet or standing water. However, some of the worst leaks in a home don’t become visible until they break through a wall or ceiling and cause serious damage to furniture, flooring and family keepsakes.
Because hidden leaks pose such a serious threat, many waterproofing experts offer leak detection services. These professionals pinpoint problem areas and respond proactively to protect your home and possessions. But how do you know when you need expert leak detection?
In this blog, we’ll guide you through seven of the most common signs of a hidden leak in your home.
1. Continuous Water Metre Ticking
Your water metre tracks your water usage. However, if the reading changes when you haven’t used any water, you probably have a hidden leak.
To check if your metre ticks continuously, mark the indicator on your metre. Avoid using water for an hour or so and check the reading again. If the indicator moved during that time, you have a leak.
2. Discolouration and Water Damage
Even before you see running or standing water, you may notice the effects of excess moisture in your ceiling, walls or floor. This additional moisture manifests as discolouration, warping or blistering.
If a leak reaches your ceiling, you may notice sagging or a change in colour. In your walls, you may see bubbling, blistering, peeling wallpaper, unexplained staining or flaking paint.
3. Foundation Cracks
Over time, as your home settles, your foundation may develop some cracks. However, natural cracks occur slowly. If you have a leak that puts pressure on your foundation, you’ll see new cracks appear suddenly.
You may also notice abnormal vegetation growth or earth shifts. If you notice foundation cracks, take immediate action, as foundational problems can compromise your home’s structure.
4. Foul Odours
If water accumulates out of sight, you may identify it by scent rather than sight. Smells that indicate a leak include mustiness, earthiness and staleness.
These odours often occur close to drains. When you notice a new smell, first consult with a plumber, as these scents can also indicate drain blockages.
5. Increasing Water Bills
One of the best ways to identify a hidden leak is to track your water usage. When you pay your water bill, compare it to two or three previous bills. If you see a higher cost without an increase in water usage, you may have a progressive leak.
If possible, compare your current bill to bills from the same season in previous years, since water usage often increases during warm months.
6. Mould or Mildew
Mould, mildew and rot require moisture to grow. While it’s normal to see small amounts of organic growth in the corners of your shower or bath, mould should never occur on your walls, ceiling or floor.
This type of growth may indicate a slowly leaking pipe beneath the surface where the mould or mildew first took hold.
7. Wet Spots
It’s difficult to keep your floors completely dry, and some moisture is normal. However, if you notice wet spots or puddles on your floor, you may have a leak.
Similarly, any moisture that seeps through your walls or ceiling indicates a hidden leak.
When you notice any of the symptoms listed above, especially if several occur simultaneously, contact a professional waterproofer or plumber. Active leaks, flooding and seepage cost you money, create health and safety hazards and damage your furnishings. Early detection is the key to proper waterproofing–don’t wait until a wet spot becomes a waterfall.
For more information about waterproofing, both in your home and your outdoor recreational areas, read our blog posts