Finding A Water Leak | All You Need To Know

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finding a water leak

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One of the common problems that people have to deal with is fixing a leak. 

This proves challenging, especially if the leak has persisted for a long time, leading to extensive damage. But what if you could trace the leak almost immediately? While it’s not easy, we’ll be highlighting the various aspects of finding a leak. 

With so many pipes running around the house, it’s no surprise that plumbers have to answer calls 24×7 regarding leakages. Therefore, we’ve chosen to point out some of the common areas a leak is likely to occur and how you can locate it. 

Some users use gadgets like leak detection tools, while others use their sense of sight, smell, and hearing to find if there’s water escaping. All-in-all, we’ve got the ideal guide to help you make better decisions and find a quick solution to your leaking woes. 

Without further ado, let’s begin. 

Detecting A Water Leak

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Having a water leak in your home isn’t that uncommon but detecting the leak is a different proposition. While you may know that there is a leak, it’s a whole different ball-game trying to locate the damaged pipe. 

We don’t just mean inside your home; it could be that the leak has occurred outdoors. Moreover, the leak can be underground, meaning you’ll require professional help to solve the issue. 

So, merely stating how to detect a leak will not do justice to the seriousness of the issue. To keep the quality of your home intact, we’ve decided to help you by narrowing down all the places where a leak can occur. Furthermore, we’ve analyzed how to tackle the issue in different situations, thereby providing all-round coverage. 

  • Detecting A Leak Inside Your Home 

First and foremost, we’ll discuss how to detect a leak inside your home before venturing to other areas of your property. Now, we should tell you that even if you don’t come across water, it’s still possible for one of the pipes to have a leak. 

To detect the leak, follow the steps mentioned below. 

  1. Checking Water Usage

The best way to check if there’s a leak is to monitor the water meter. If you happen to notice a sudden increase in water consumption, the chances are that there’s a leak. 

There are two things you can do to be sure. Firstly, you can ask the water supplier to send monthly statements of your water usage, but this process is time-consuming. For a quicker solution, turn off all the faucets and appliances that use water and check the numbers on the water meter. 

Come back after an hour and check the meter again. If the numbers have changed, that means you’ve got a leak in the pipeline. 

  1. Checking The Pressure 

Sometimes, people may find a drop in the water pressure when turning on the tap or shower, which might point to a leak. But don’t jump to conclusions and instead clean the showerhead to see if water flow is affected by limescale deposition. 

Also, users who have a faulty shower/bath diverter might face issues with water pressure, so you need to check all the components. Once you’ve inspected all the relevant components, turn the water back on to spot any changes to the water pressure. 

This will help ascertain whether you’ve got a leak or not, allowing you to take remedial measures if needed.

  1. Checking The Water Heater 

Another appliance that warns you about a leak is the water heater or boiler. If you find that the heater comes on immediately after you switch it on, it’s probably due to a leak in the hot water pipe. The challenging part is locating the pipe as it runs underground, meaning it takes considerable time and effort to fix the problem. 

Some Common Spots For A Leak 

Here we’ll tell you about some of the areas in your home where you can expect to find a leak. For those who haven’t purchased a leak detection device, looking in the right spots could save valuable time and help you address the problem quickly. 

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  1. Water Tank 

Let’s begin with the water tank, one of the most common spots for a leak. Start by checking the valves that allow smooth passage of water into and out of the tank to see if you can spot water escaping. 

You should know that the leak won’t be prominent, meaning you’ll have to look for a small opening that might leave marks on the floor. Additionally, the water escaping might make a hissing sound, so you need to be attentive. 

We must mention that users who find a leak in their central heating boiler will need to contact a specialist because this problem can be serious. 

  1. Toilets 

Given the rigors of daily use, it isn’t surprising that toilets feature on the list of the most common leakable spots. While fixing a leaking toilet isn’t difficult, it could be costly if the problem persists for a long time. 

Sometimes you can fix the problem yourself by changing the washer, but for that, it’s essential to locate the source of the leak. An easy way to confirm a leak is to put a food coloring solution in the tank and leave it for ten minutes. 

If you find that the coloring solution has altered the water in the bowl, then there’s most likely a leak. 

  1. Appliances 

Also, using appliances like a washing machine and dishwasher can lead to pipe leakage. All you can do is exercise caution because something as innocuous as moving the appliance could crack a pipe. 

You might even loosen a valve, or the attachments might come loose, which is easy to fix. For more serious problems you can contact customer service, a professional plumber, or it might be best to replace an old model. 

  •  Detecting A Leak Outside 

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In this section, we’ll tell you how to find a leak outdoors. Once you’ve made sure that the problem lies in the garden or lawn, try looking for tell-tale signs to confirm your hunch. 

One of the easiest ways is to look for muddy patches or water puddles near the pipes in your lawn. Similarly, if the grass is greener in one area of the lawn compared to others, it means that the grass is getting more water. 

The next step is finding out the extent of the damage, meaning you’ll have to dig up the lawn to expose the underground pipe. You can do this yourself or call a professional to avoid digging in the wrong spot. And while digging, exercise precaution as you wouldn’t want to damage the pipe further. 

Outdoor Water Meters 

As mentioned earlier, you can use the water meter to ascertain whether your home has a leak. Users who have their water meters located on the street can determine if the leak is inside or outside their home. 

All you need to do is turn off the shut-off valve which will cut the water supply to the main pipeline. Proceed to note down the numbers of the water meter and come back an hour later to tally the figures. If there’s a change, the leak lies in the pipeline that enters the house, usually located in the basement or utility room. 

On the other hand, if there’s no change, the leak lies inside your home.

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  •  Finding An Underground Leak 

Detecting an underground leak is quite similar to finding a leak in your ceiling. Just as you see signs of water overhead, similarly, you may experience dampness or find little pools of water in the corner of the room. 

What’s more, it takes longer for underground leaks to get exposed, meaning it gives off a foul smell due to mildew and mold. But by the time you find the leak, the problem might worsen, so people tend to prefer a more efficient solution. 

As a result, one of the most sought-after gadgets in the market is leak detection tools like Leakbot. All you need to do is attach the device near the stop tap, following which it’ll pick up on changes in water temperature. You can monitor this temperature to find if there’s a leak. 

There are other interesting leak detection tools, with every device having its own unique set of features. For example, some tools send an alert to a mobile app when an anomaly in the water pressure or water flow is detected. Hence, you can immediately know if something is wrong. 

Given the numerous options available out there, your only headache is choosing the model most suitable to your needs. Plus, given the amount of money you can save and its efficiency, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in a leak detection device. 

  •   Finding A Leak Under Concrete 

It’s slightly more complex to find a leak under concrete compared to other outdoor spots. We’ve already discussed looking out for damp patches and trying to smell mildew and mold as the water escapes from underneath the surface. 

Apart from that, inspect the concrete to find cracks on the surface as the water pushes up from below. If there are no cracks, you can be sure to find uneven spots where the concrete is bulging due to water pressure. 

Once you’re sure it’s a leak, call a licensed plumber to take care of the issue. 

Additional Leaking Clues 

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Now, it’s a good time to talk about additional leaking clues that will help you detect the problem without delay. Most of the points mentioned below involve using your senses, and while some of these clues may be well-known, they still merit a discussion. 

  1. Wall Discoloration 

If you notice a certain wall in your room fading or becoming discolored, check the plumbing line. More often than not, rooms with attached bathrooms experience discoloration, which causes the wallpaper to peel off. You’ll also be able to see clear watermarks on the wall exposing the plaster underneath. 

Needless to say, solving this issue proves expensive as you’ll first have to contact a plumber to stop the leaking. Then a professional painting service will have to repaint the wall to restore it to its original condition. 

  1. Bubbling Paint 

People who have wallboards often find the surface wet with the paint not adhering as tightly as it’s supposed to. This means there’s a leak underneath, which needs to be looked at as soon as possible. If the problem persists, the wallboard could start bulging from the water pressure, meaning that the damage is extensive. 

  1. Dripping Sound

The previous two points deal with sight, so now let’s talk about how you can use your ears to find a leak. If you remember, we’ve discussed how you might notice a hissing sound if there’s a leak in the water tank. Apart from that, you can hear a dripping sound in some cases, giving away the position of the leak. 

However, if the water is traveling through a wall stud, there won’t be any sound, and only leak detectors will help trace the issue. 

  1. Musty Smell 

Finally, let’s discuss smell, a sure giveaway that there’s a leak inside your home. As we’ve seen previously, mildew and mold create a foul smell, but there’s another kind of musty odor usually accompanied by a persistent leak. 

Although the leak is persistent, it’s difficult to find the source, so the best you can do is follow the smell. It will lead you to the mold growth along the walls, found mostly inside your home, underneath which the water might be leaking. 

Final Words 

That’s all you need to know about finding a leak, and hopefully, our guide will help you trace the problem quickly. 

Remember to conduct regular maintenance, and whenever in doubt, ask a plumber to check out the pipeline. Until next time. Bye, take care!

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