5 Signs Your Home Might Have a Hidden Water Leak

It's a frightening thought, but you could have a leak in your plumbing and not realize it. If the leak is just a tiny hole, water can leak out all day long and gradually increase your water bill so it isn't as noticeable as a sudden sky-high bill due to a line rupture.

Although the leak may be small when water pours between your walls or under the floor every day it can do a lot of damage. Besides keeping an eye on your water meter and closely examining your water bill each month, there are other signs you can stay alert to that signal a water leak and possible water damage to your home.

Here are five things to watch for:

1. Odour of Decaying Wood or Mildew

If the leak is inside your home, the dampness may cause mould to grow in places you can't see. Don't rely on visible mould to alert you to a water leak because mould could be growing behind a wall or under your carpet. Instead, rely on your sense of smell.

If you detect the odour of mildew, then that's a pretty good sign there is a water leak somewhere in your home. Other odours you might detect are the foul smell of stagnant water and the odour of decaying wood.

2. Presence of Water-Loving Bugs

Bugs can also alert you to increased dampness and humidity in your home. There might be more roaches in your kitchen or you could see earwigs in the basement or silverfish in the bathroom.

If you've not had a bug problem previously, and suddenly you're having a hard time keeping them under control, a water leak is likely attracting them. These bugs love damp places so they may be living in your base cabinets that have wet wood or in your basement due to a slab leak.

3. Unusual Noises in Your Plumbing

You can sometimes hear a water leak because the sound is amplified through the plumbing. You could hear a rushing noise as the water is leaking out. You might also hear stuttering or pinging when you turn on a faucet due to the air in the lines. You can't always pick up on the sound of a water leak though, especially if the leak is tiny.

4. Wet Areas That Should Be Dry

If you have a slab leak in your house, there may be water puddles in your basement or wet spots on your carpet. If an outdoor line is leaking, there could be a soggy area in your yard. The grass may be lush and greener in one spot where the water is leaking.

There could also be sinking above the leak which might cause your driveway or walkway to dip. If an indoor pipe is leaking, you may see water stains on the walls or ceiling. The drywall may swell as it absorbs the water and then begin to buckle.

5. The Water Has Sediment or Rust Particles

You won't always notice a change in water quality when you have a plumbing leak. If the broken pipe is underground outdoors, dirt might get in the line. When this happens, you might see particles in the water or notice sediment in your dishes after you wash them.
 
In addition to dirt, you might also see rust particles. Rust particles don't always indicate a water leak, but rust does reveal the deteriorated condition of your pipes. If they are rusted inside, there's a good chance a pipe is leaking or will start leaking if the pipes aren't replaced soon.
 
Having a hidden water leak is disturbing because you have no idea where it is or the amount of damage it has done. Fortunately, your plumber can pinpoint the leak using leak detection equipment such as a moisture meter, thermal scanner, pipe camera, or a sound detection device. Locating the exact spot of the leak is necessary, otherwise, you would have to open your walls and dig up your yard to find the leak.