Having an unidentified leak is nerve-wracking, and there isn’t a straightforward way to know the magnitude of damage being done until you find and repair the source.
If you believe there’s a water leak inside your wall, it’s time to explore the source and looks for clues you might have missed. Indications of water damage in walls are usually subtle, so conducting a thorough inspection is the first step to finding the leak.
The good news is that there are easy ways to find a water leak inside a wall.
Signs of Water Leaks in Walls
A Wet Wall
Remember that the leak might not be directly behind the damp wall area. Water from leaking pipes can travel down the pipe before it eventually comes into contact with your drywall.
Peeling Paint or Wallpaper
In addition to peeling, you may see cracked or buckled paint or wallpaper.
Warped or Discolored Drywall
Is your drywall warped or culled? If so, it is a clear sign of a water leak.
A Musty Smell
While you may not see any water damage, that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Sometimes the smell is enough to alert you.
Pools of Water
Determine whether the water is coming from appliances. You might have a leaky water pipe if the water isn’t coming from a machine.
If you turn off the faucet or shower and still hear the sound of dripping water, you might have a pipe leaking water.
High Water Bill
Often this is the most obvious sign you have a water leak. However, the high water bill won’t reveal the leak’s location. But you can start investigating your walls.
Mold in Unexpected Areas
Most households have seen mold in damp areas like bathrooms, which isn’t surprising. However, black or brown mold elsewhere in your house could signify a leaky pipe.
Identify the Source
Once you realize you have a leak, locate the source. Remember where you see the water or moisture may not be exactly where the leak is, so this can take some investigating.
Turning off all water faucets and appliances can determine if the leak comes from defective plumbing. Jot down the number on the water meter. After three hours, recheck the water meter. If the water amount increases, that’s a good indication the leak is coming from the indoor plumbing.
Exterior Above Grade
If the indoor plumbing isn’t the problem, inspect your home’s exterior. Look for clogged gutters, downspouts, and broken caulking. Inspect the flashing on exterior perforations such as vents, chimneys, windows, and doors.
Exterior Below Grade
If your leak is emerging at the lower level, it’s possible to have exterior below-grade issues. Common reasons for this leak are broken sprinkler pipes, improper drainage from downspouts, or french drains that slope toward the house.
Plumbers have leak detection devices that can quickly and precisely find the location of the leak, even if the leak is underneath the concrete or behind a wall. Ground microphones or listening discs are acoustic listening devices that a plumber uses to find leaks.
If they aren’t fixed immediately, water leaks can damage your property and health because moisture helps mold grow. If you suspect a water leak, you may want your pipes and water supply assessed by an experienced plumber. Gene Wagner Plumbing is ranked among the top two plumbers in Southeastern Wisconsin. Contact us or call us at 414-541-9217.