Most water leaks are visible and easy to repair. However, hidden leaks sometimes develop, and when they do, they can be tough to spot and expensive to fix. If you know what to look for, you may be able to fix a hidden leak before it wipes out your savings account. Here are a few signs of hidden water leaks.
1. Ceiling Discoloration
If you notice discoloration on the ceiling, then it’s likely that you have a hidden water leak. Roof leaks are the most common cause of discoloration, but a ceiling stain that develops under a bathroom may be a sign that you have a leak there. This type of leak occurs from water continually moving through the caulk that’s located between the tiles. The area where a bathtub is connected to the wall is the most common place for a leak to form.
2. A Higher Water Bill
If your water bill begins to creep up without your family using more water, then check your meter to see if there are any sudden spikes. Confirm that no one in your house mistakenly left a water source turned on. Then, turn off the main valve and check the meter. The leak indicator will move if you have a hidden leak. Water meters vary, but for most homes, the indicator is a triangular-shaped dial. If you see the dial shift after you’ve turned off the valve, then you probably have a leak.
3. Unpleasant Odor
Nasty smells are often misunderstood, and based on your home’s age and condition, you might not notice them for several months. Common smells that indicate a hidden leak include:
• Foul food
• Rotten eggs
• Sewer stench
If you notice these smells and they are especially awful, consider contacting a plumbing professional to determine the cause.
4. Damaged Walls
When the walls inside a home start to show damaged paint or color distortion, then it is a sign of a water leak. If drywall comes into contact with moisture, a chemical reaction occurs that results in the drywall starting to bubble. Moisture may also warp paint and cause it to separate. When this happens, the paint starts to crack apart. If you notice any of these issues happening without knowing why, then you probably have a leak.
5. The Appearance of Mold
If you see mold or mildew developing on your home’s baseboards, walls or ceiling, then this is a hidden sign of a water leak. In most cases, a pipe is leaking behind the area. When mold appears, it is a serious risk to your health. If you spot mold, be sure to contact a specialist as soon as you can.
Look for signs of mold if you live in a home that’s several decades old. Vintage homes are more likely to experience mold growth. Inspect the home’s HVAC ducts for mold as well as any other areas that may have moisture. Don’t wait out mold growth, the fungus will get worse, and you’ll have a major repair on your hands.
Knowing the signs of a hidden leak can save you money and decrease the damage to your home.