Being a homeowner means you likely have or will experience some kind of plumbing leak at your house. Some leaks are very obvious and can be identified with ease while some are more obscure with a solution that is less clear. 

The sooner a leak is found and its source is identified the better – a quick response will save both you and your pocketbook a lot of pain. What follows is an overview of the various types of leaks you may run into, how to find them, and how to solve the problem. 

Should you be concerned about a water leak? 

There is no such thing as a “good” water leak (except, perhaps, from the perspective of your lawn that might end up getting more water than it usually would). Some leaks are worse than others in their severity and amount of water being leaked and depending on the location some leaks might cause more damage. 

If there is a water leak, it should be high on your list to get it fixed as fast as possible. Property damage is not always the case but putting off a repair of a leak has the high potential to create even more problems down the road. 

What are the Signs of a Water Leak? 

Depending on the type of leak and where they originate, some might be more apparent than others. Most homeowners will notice a toilet line bursting in their ceiling and leaking water into the main floor, but other leaks may lead to nothing more than an increased water bill at first. 

signs of a water leak in your home graphic

Some visible signs include

  • Wet drywall
  • Visible mold and mildew
  • Cracks in the foundations of the home
  • Stains on the floors, ceiling, and walls
  • Wet spots beneath leaks from the ceiling
  • Portions of the yard appear greener or feature longer grass than others 

Some subtle, non-visible signs include:

  • A sudden increase in the water and utility bill (usage and cost)
  • Strange, musty odors associated with mold or mildew
  • Sounds of water running when the water isn’t being used 

Indoor vs. Outdoor Leaks 

Leaks can occur both within and outside of the home. 

Common indoor leaks

  • Leaking tubs and showers
  • Leaking sinks
  • Leaking appliances 
  • Leaking water heaters
  • Leaking toilets and toilet lines

Common outdoor leaks

  • Leaking sprinkler or irrigation line 
  • Waterline burst or leak 
  • Water spigot leak 
  • Roof leak 

How to Find the Water Leak 

The first step in finding your water leak is to confirm whether it is inside or outside your home. If there are no visible signs, you will utilize your water meter to make the identification. 

Confirm the leak: Start by ensuring there is no water running in or around your home (including the washing machine, dishwasher, and all faucets). Check your water meter and the number reading that you see. Take note of the numbers then return in about an hour to see if the numbers have changed – if they’ve changed, then you have a leak. 

Indoor or outdoor: To determine if the leak is inside or outside, turn off the shut-off valve on your home’s main water supply pipe (located in the basement or utility room where the water pipe enters the home). Check the water meter and record the number – once more, wait an hour, and when you come back verify whether the number is the same or if it has changed. If the number changed, the leak is in the buried water line that runs to the house, and if the number did not change then the water leak is inside your home. 

Find the inside leak: Let’s say you have determined that the leak is within your home – the next step is to locate it. One of the best things you can do is to pay special attention to your appliances and fixtures. Check the cabinets under the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom sinks to ensure that they are dry. Another important investigative action is to look for puddles of water around your tubs, toilets, showers, water heater, dishwasher, and washing machine. If you find a puddle, turn off the water supply valve to the respective appliance and call a plumber. 

Dye-Test method: Toilets are a common location for leaking inside your home. The toilet’s flapper (which stops water from entering the bowl until flushed) can degrade over time allowing water to trickle from the tank. You can test if this is happening by food coloring the water in the tank, and if it is leaking, the color will slowly begin to appear in the bowl.

Solving the Water Leak Problem

Some water leaks, such as a bathroom sink leak, can be fixed by a DIY’er with a solid set of directions, but most water leaks almost always require the attention of a professional. Whether you have found one yourself, need help finding the cause of water leak signs, or need a repair right away, call To the T Plumbing & Heating! Our team of trained professionals can deliver the solution you need for peace of mind.