Go Back

7 Ways to Identify Cracked Pipes

Home » Blog » 7 Ways to Identify Cracked Pipes
Leaking Sewer Pipe in need of Pipe Repair in Columbus, OH

Cracked pipes can be one of the biggest home repair problems a person faces. Though a cracked pipe might seem like a small issue, the challenge is that it often goes unnoticed. Pipes often end up cracking and leaking without people recognizing the problem for months. When this happens, it can result in extensive damage to your home. If you want to fix cracked pipes before they give you a lot of water damage, it's essential to know how to spot them. Here are some of the key signs to look for when trying to find cracked pipes in your house.

1. An Unexpected Drop in Water Pressure

When you have a leak in your pipe, water pressure will start to drop. This happens because some of your water is escaping instead of traveling to your sink or shower. Of course, some homeowners have lower water pressure already due to factors such as corroded pipes. However, if the drop in water pressure occurs out of nowhere, it means you probably have a crack somewhere in your pipes.

Unless the leak in your pipe is massive, you'll still have some water pressure. However, water may move through your fixtures more slowly. Many homeowners notice declining water pressure in their showers first. Another sign of low pressure can be frequent clogs in the toilet or sink. This can happen when you aren't getting enough water to push waste through your drains.

2. Strange Noises in Your Walls or Plumbing Fixtures

A cracked or leaky pipe can be quite noisy. Of course, the most obvious sign of a cracked pipe is a dripping sound. However, even if you aren't hearing drops of water splashing down, your pipe can be noisy. Noise can travel along the pipes and cause sounds to echo strangely in your sinks, tubs, and toilets. As water pressure fluctuates, some homeowners notice gurgling or bubbling sounds.

In some cases, cracked pipes can cause air to get sucked into your plumbing system. This can be a lot of noise as it moves around. Some homeowners report banging or wheezing sounds. If the pipe is dented in a way that restricts water flow, you can also hear whistling or hissing sounds. Some water pressure changes can even cause your pipes to sway around a little, making thumping or knocking sounds as they bump into the insides of your walls.

3. Abnormally High Water or Power Bills

If you glance at your utility bill and are shocked to find that it's sky high, you might have a cracked pipe. Your water bill can provide a very helpful look at how much water your house uses. When the amount of water you use suddenly jumps without an explanation, it often means that a leak is somehow letting gallons of water escape from your plumbing system.

In cases where the cracked pipe is part of your hot water system, your water bill won't be the only unusually high bill. A leak in a hot water pipe also causes your water heater to run constantly. This can result in extremely high gas or electric bills as well.

4. Suspicious Changes to Your Lawn

Not all cracked pipes happen within the walls of your home. Many leaks occur in the pipes that run from the water main to your house. Often, these cracks happen due to shifting soil or tree roots disrupting your plumbing system. When you have a cracked pipe under your property, you'll end up dealing with a lot of disruptions to your lawn.

Of course, the most obvious sign will be a standing puddle of water that never goes away, but this usually only happens in major leaks. If the crack is smaller, it might just cause one part of your yard to feel soft and squishy. If the soft spot occurs under a driveway or walkway, you might notice a dent appearing or concrete starting to crack. Another warning sign to look out for is one part of the yard that is always greener than others. This is especially common if you have a cracked sewer pipe.

5. Unpleasant Smells

Have you noticed any strange smells floating around your house? Scents of sulfur, rotten egg, or garbage can often be a sign of a cracked sewer pipe. In most cases, this smell will come and go, and it might be strongest in the area where the cracked pipe is located. This smell happens because sewer gas is leaking up and bubbling out of the crack in your pipe.

Even if your cracked pipe isn't a sewage pipe, it can still lead to strange smells. Because cracked pipes lead to water damage, they can cause all sorts of unpleasant smells to appear in your home. Some people notice musty, mildew smells that are caused by mold growth. Others might smell scents of rot caused by water-damaged wood or walls.

6. Water-Damaged Walls, Ceilings, or Floors

As your cracked pipe leaks more water into the home, signs of water damage will become more apparent. Many homeowners will report noticing discoloration. Water damage often causes a slowly spreading ring that looks yellow, brown, or gray. The area around the leak might feel soft to the touch, bubble outwards, or sink inwards. Many building materials like drywall can't stand up to large amounts of water, so you might even have portions of your home start to crumble or dissolve.

If your leak is particularly bad, there will also be visible water inside your home. This can take the form of condensation on walls, or it might lead to unexplained puddles on the floor. If you notice water, clean it up, and then find more water there later, don't delay in calling a plumber to your home. Standing water typically indicates that there is a significant amount of damage going on behind your walls.

7. Mold Growth

The final sign of a cracked pipe that you need to check for is mold growth. Mold is a type of organism that grows in humid environments. The typical home with a functioning HVAC system won't be damp enough to let mold flourish. However, if a cracked pipe is constantly adding moisture to the environment, mold can start to grow around the leak.

Many homeowners don't notice mold until it leads to a patch of black, green, gray, brown, or pink mold growing on a wall. However, even if you don't have visible mold yet, it's still possible to find it. Mold often has a distinct smell that people describe as earthy, musty, or swampy. It also causes a lot of health problems if you're regularly breathing in mold spores. Homeowners who frequently wake up with headaches, sore throats, itchy eyes, and other signs of mold exposure may want to check for cracks in their pipes.

If you suspect that you have a cracked pipe, it's important to act fast. The team of professionals at Apex Plumbing, Heating, and Air Pros' can identify where your cracks are piped and fix the issue. In addition to plumbing repairs, we also assist Columbus residents with a variety of other services. We work on HVAC systems, plumbing systems, drains, water heaters, and sewers. To learn more about our services, give Apex Plumbing, Heating, and Air Pros a call today.