7 Ways to Know if You Have a Leaking Pipe
If you ever have a pipe that bursts in your home, you hopefully will see it right away so that it can be repaired quickly. Unfortunately, there are times when the leak is hidden within the walls or the outdoor plumbing leading to your house. You should always be mindful of the signs of a leaking pipe discussed below so that you are not caught by surprise.
1. Huge Spike in Your Water Bill You Cannot Explain
One of the first signs that may alert you to a leak in your home's plumbing system is a huge increase in your water bill. You may find that your household's usage has gone up considerably even though nothing has changed in how you use water.
Even a small leak can add up to gallons of usage on the bill. As soon as you notice a sharp increase in the amount of the bill, contact a plumbing service right away to have them look for the leak.
2. Your Home's Water Pressure Drops Considerably
Another sign of a water leak is when the pressure in your home drops considerably. The plumbing within your home is a closed system that allows for the buildup of enough pressure to force the water out of the faucets on demand.
When this closed system is compromised and water is leaking out of a pipe somewhere, the water pressure will decrease. If the pressure has dropped throughout the house, the leak is most likely located in the main water line.
3. Soft, Greener Patches of Ground Appear Around Your House
When the leak is coming from the main water line, you may find that there are areas of grass that are greener than the lawn around them. The grass is growing quicker and lusher than the rest because it is receiving extra moisture.
If you walk in these areas, the ground will usually feel soft. You may even sink slightly and see water come up around your feet.
You may also see what appears to be a channel on top of the ground. This channel is caused by the compaction of the soil from the excess water. If a channel is present, it is often along the main water line when there is a leak.
4. Smelly, Rust-Colored Water Comes Out of Your Faucets
Another issue you may notice when you have a water leak in your home is smelly, discolored water coming from the faucets. When the leak is caused by deteriorating pipes, it often takes on a brownish color as the rust bleeds into the water.
Along with the discoloration, you may also detect a metallic odor when you smell the water. There are often also small flecks of metal that can be seen when you hold a glass of water up to the light.
If the water has a foul odor to it, however, there could be a couple of leaks within the plumbing. One of the water supply lines could be damaged while a sewer line is probably also leaking. These leaks contaminate the freshwater with sewage.
If this is the case, you need to have a plumber investigate and find the leaks as soon as possible. Failure to do so could cause potential health issues for yourself and other household members from the contaminated water.
5. Meter Registers Usage When No Water Is Running
When you suspect that you have a leak, you can try to confirm your suspicions by looking at the water meter. When there is no water running anywhere in your home, go outside and observe the meter for a minute or two.
If the meter continues to register usage, confirm that there is no water running in the house by double-checking that the faucets are turned off and no water-using appliances are running. Then, look at the meter again. If it continues to show usage, your home's plumbing most likely has a leak somewhere.
However, when the meter continues to run, there could also be a problem with the meter itself. If you are unsure of which problem is causing the issue, you should have a professional check both the meter and the plumbing to be sure.
6. Wallpaper or Paint Starts Bubbling and Peeling
When the leak is coming from one of the pipes inside your home, the water will start saturating the walls from the inside out. When this saturation occurs, the wallpaper or paint on the walls will start to bubble up and peel off.
If you see areas where the walls are bubbling and peeling, put your ear against the surface, and listen carefully. You may be able to hear the hissing of the water as it is coming out of the pipe.
If the leak is severe, you should be able to hear the water even if you are standing a couple of feet away from the wall. You may also be able to detect a musty odor near these areas.
This odor is caused when the water soaks into the drywall, studs, wallpaper, and paint. Since these areas are typically airtight, the water does not evaporate and becomes stale. As the stale water begins to break down the structures, it gives off a musty odor. If you do not have the leak detected and fixed, the structures will continue to break down, making expensive repairs necessary.
7. Signs of Mold Start Showing in Your Home
Depending on the severity of the leak and how long it has been present, another sign for which you should be on the lookout is mold growth within your home. This growth will be present when the leak is located in dark, closed-off areas, such as within the walls, under sinks, or under a slab foundation.
When mold is present, you will first smell a musty odor that seems to permeate the air in your home. You may also find a black, slimy residue on your walls.
Once mold starts growing in your home, it will release spores into the air. Not only will this create further growth in other areas of your home, but it can also decrease the air quality.
If anyone in your household has a mold allergy or a respiratory disorder, you need to have the leak located as soon as possible by a professional plumber for the health of your family members. Doing so will prevent more moisture in the dark areas, which creates the perfect environment for the spores to grow.
Call a Professional Plumbing Service for Help
A busted pipe calls for a professional service that can detect the leak and make the necessary repairs. They should also have the expertise to deal with issues related to the leak's location, such as under the slab foundation, water heater, or along the main water line.
At Apex Plumbing Pros, our plumbing team provides a full range of services for pipes, drains, sewer lines, and septic tanks in Columbus, OH and the surrounding area. We also offer heating and air services. If you suspect or know for sure that one of your house's pipes is leaking, contact Apex Plumbing Pros today to schedule a service call.