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leaking water from blue pipe

5 Signs That You Might Have a Leak

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1. Noises From Your Pipes

The most obvious sound is water running when no one is using it. Probably the most common example of this is a running toilet, but there are many others. If you hear water running and your water heater turning on when no one’s using hot water, then you might have a leak down at the heater. Or if it sounds like someone’s using a faucet when all of them are closed.

And it doesn’t just have to be running water. There are plenty of other noises, such as pinging, tapping, or rattling. These are often causes by air in the pipes. Your pipes shouldn’t have air in them, so it’s probably coming in from a leak.

2. Extra Water Usage

Has your utility bill been rising recently for no reason? Compare your water usage week to week or month to month. Using more water when you haven’t changed your use patterns is a good sign of a leak.

The other way to check extra usage is by monitoring your water meter. Turn off all water appliances, and make a note of the water meter’s position. Then wait an hour. If it goes up at all, then you’ve got a leak somewhere in your system.

3. Weird Changes in Your Walls, Floors, and Ceilings

The most obvious sign is if any of them get spongy, moist, or wet, but these aren’t the only signs. Water will discolor wallpaper, or ruin the glue so it starts to peel. On a painted wall, you may see bubbling, soft spots, or odd lines of dirt. These are caused by water spreading in the walls and pushing dirt in front of it.

You can also look for spots of mold or mildew. Both of these will often show up as dark spots on the wall. Unfortunately, you’ll often have to replace the wall to get rid of the mold, but make sure you fix any leaks first.

4. Odd Smells

Before you notice the mold or mildew, you might notice a musty, moldy smell in areas that are damp. This is especially noticeable in small rooms like laundry rooms or bathrooms.

Much worse than the smell of mold is the smell of sewage. If this is coming from floors, near drains, or near sewers, than it means something isn’t working correctly. Either you have a sewage leak directly under your floor, or one of the water seals that keeps the gas in the system has leaked out (such as in toilets or sink traps).

5. Concrete or Ground Damage

A lot of the main plumbing lines will run under lawns, driveways, garages, and landscaping. Small changes in moisture are harder to spot when you’re dealing with outside ground, so unfortunately the signs are usually much bigger.

Soggy spots or uneven vegetation growth are signs of uneven water under the surface, possibly from a pipe leak. Cracks in concrete can be caused by shifting ground where water breaks the dirt down, and a warm spot in your garage floor can be an indication of a hot water leak.

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