Leaked Pipe Check: Learning How To Check for Water Leakage in Your Pipe
The resources we’ve spent to buy a residential property will go straight down the drain (pun intended) if our pipes are leaking. Although often neglected, pipes are important because they provide convenient ways to deliver water to various areas of the house.
Leaking pipes are a common problem among many households, which can have many adverse effects when left unfixed for long periods.
Leaking pipes damage our home’s structure and even pieces of furniture we place inside.
They can also cause moisture, which can attract the growth and spread of molds and mildew.
Not all homeowners know how to find where a leak is coming from and conduct a leaked pipe check. If you’re one of them, you’re in luck.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to check for water leakage in your pipe so you can easily assess the condition of your home’s plumbing.
Check Your Water Meter
Monitoring your home’s water meter while your main water valve is shut off can help you determine if your pipes are leaking. The water meter is usually located on the back or side of the house or beneath a manhole cover near the street.
Once you’ve found your water meter, follow these steps:
- Shut off your home’s water main valve to ensure that there is no running water.
- Your water meter will have a leak indicator, often a small blue, red or white triangle. This triangle will spin fast if any water source in the house is turned on. Since you shut off the main water valve, this indicator should be still. Once you notice that it’s spinning, a leaking pipe underground might be the culprit.
- If your water meter doesn’t come with a leak indicator, note the current meter reading and leave the main valve for at least an hour. After, check the reading in your water meter again. Seeing any change in the meter reading even if you’re not running water at home indicates underground leaks.
Look For Greener Patches of Grass in Your Lawn
The condition of your lawn can affect the curb appeal of your property, but do you know that this area can also determine the condition of your home’s plumbing system?
Go outside your lawn and check for patches of greener gases. If you notice that one section of your lawn is greener than the others, be wary as this is a common sign of leaking pipes.
When there is an underground leak in your yard, the damaged pipe will supply extra water to certain areas, allowing the grass to grow faster.
In the worst cases, leaking pipes underground can cause water puddles to form on the ground’s surface.
Compare Your Water Bills
Water bills that are constantly rising even if your family’s water use habits haven’t changed is a red flag. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American family uses around 12,000 gallons of water every month, except during the summer months.
The same organization also stated that even small leaks, like a faucet or shower dripping non-stop, can waste at least 20 gallons of water every day or 9,400 gallons of water annually.
You might not detect leaks fast as this problem often happens underground, but you’ll always end up paying for them.
Use Some Food Coloring
Toilets use around 3.5 to seven gallons of water per flush, making them the biggest water hog in the house. You should regularly inspect your toilet for leaks to avoid wasting extra gallons of water every day.
One of the easiest ways to test your toilet for leaks is using some food coloring. Add a few drops of water coloring to your toilet tank and wait for at least ten minutes. If the color appears in your bowl, you have a leak.
Leaking pipes allow water to follow from the tank to your drain even without using the toilet.
Assess the Water Pressure
Having the right water pressure is important. When water pressure is too high, it can significantly damage your plumbing. When it’s too low, your quality of life will be affected as simple tasks, such as washing dishes and showering become frustrating.
To conduct a leaked pipe check, assess the water pressure in your home. A noticeable drop in water pressure indicates that a small crack in your pipe is slowly getting bigger, preventing pressure from reaching its destination.
Look for Foundation Cracks
The foundation bears the weight of the entire house, which is why you should ensure that it remains in tiptop condition. Seeing little hairline cracks in the drywall or ceiling isn’t a cause for concern, but if you notice sudden cracks, that’s another story.
Leaking pipes can cause foundation cracks. This happens as water from leaks can eventually enter the foundation area and make the foundation weak because of excessive moisture.
The longer you leave this problem unfixed, the more damage the leaks can cause to your home’s foundation.
Use Your Senses
You don’t need to have tools or years of experience as a handyman to assess if your pipes at home are leaking; staying alert and using your senses is enough!
If you suspect that your pipes are leaking, visit different areas of your home and use your sense of sight, smell, and hearing. Leaking pipes can be located within a wall and go unnoticed until it causes significant damage.
- Check wall discoloration: Are there sections in your walls that look “different”? Seeing wall discoloration around your home is a tell-tale sign that there is water leaking behind your walls, and the water is starting to soak the front side. Water stains caused by leaking pipes are also visible on ceilings and come in a brownish or yellowish color.
- Assess the condition of your wall paint or wallpaper: Bubbling wall paint or bulging wallpaper indicates that your wallboard is wet and the paint or wallpaper no longer adheres to the surface. Severe cases of leaking pipes might also cause a bulge in the wallboard.
- Be wary of non-stop dripping sounds: Other leaks, like those caused by a cracked pipe, can be heard. Pay attention to where the dripping sound is coming from, as it can give you a clue to the location of the leaks.
- Be mindful of the smell: Since leaking pipes often occur inside your wallboards, visual signs might not be noticeable. Another sign that your pipes are leaking is the presence of a musty smell. Leaking pipes can attract molds, and these microorganisms emit certain “gasses”, resulting in a stale or damp scent.
Call Professionals ASAP
Leaking pipes can cause significant damage to your home and finances. The longer you continue to use leaking pipes, the more money you’ll have to spend for their repairs or replacement. You might even have to spend money repairing other areas of your home affected by the leak.
Fortunately, there are many signs to look out for to help you determine the overall condition of your pipes. Once you’re able to determine these signs, make sure to call professionals right away!
More From Tom’s Plumber
Tom’s Plumber has 20 years of experience in the plumbing industry and is one of the most trusted plumbing and drain companies in the Great New Orleans Area.
We do a variety of plumbing installations and repairs using state-of-the-art tools such as cameras to inspect clogged pipes and detect leaks.
We’ve handled many plumbing concerns from the people of New Orleans.
Contact us now for more information!