How To Spot Hidden Plumbing Leaks

hidden plumbing leakNot all plumbing leaks leave puddles on the floor. When a leak develops behind a wall, under a floor or around a plumbing fixture, it can cause serious damage before you realize it’s there. Knowing how to spot these leaks can save you major hassle and expense.

Look for the Signs

A pipe leaking behind a wall or under a floor will cause problems such as peeling wallpaper, stains that expand over time, and loose, warped or buckled flooring. The humidity produced by the leak can lead to mold growth and a musty odor.

If the floor around your toilet is stained or damaged, or the toilet feels wobbly, the toilet flange could be loose and allowing water to escape into the floor with every flush. Stains on the ceiling below the toilet are another sign.

The outdoor pipes running between the municipal water system and your home can also leak. Leaks here leave part of the lawn soft, wet, sunken and/or unusually lush and green. They can also cause pavement to heave and crack.

Test Your Fixtures

To check if your toilet has a leak, add 10 drops of food coloring to the tank and wait 10 minutes. If the color shows up in the bowl or around the base of the toilet, you have a leak.

Water-damaged flooring around your tub or shower could be the fault of a leaky drain. To check, plug the drain tightly, pour in some water and wait for an hour. If the water level falls, the drain is probably leaking.

A sudden spike in your water bills is another sign of plumbing leaks. If you suspect there’s a leak in your house, but you’re not sure, turn off all your faucets and water-using appliances, then note the number on your water meter. Wait three or four hours, then re-check the meter. If the number has increased, you most likely have a leak somewhere.