How to find a water leak before it’s too late

buckets catching leaks in a home with couple sitting on couch behind

Water leaks can be insidious. They don’t just erode the structural integrity of your property; they can also drain your wallet, one wasted gallon at a time. Whether you’re a vigilant homeowner or a proactive property manager in Wichita, detecting water leaks early is crucial in preventing catastrophic damages and conserving our planet’s most precious resource.

This guide is here to demystify the process, breaking down the essential steps to finding a water leak in your home or business.

Signs of a water leak

Your search begins with looking out for the following signs that point to leaks in your plumbing system:

  • Unexplained increases in water bills – Keep a record of your water usage and compare it to your monthly bills. If you notice a spike without any changes in your consumption habits, there’s likely a leak.
  • Low water pressure – If you’re experiencing weak water flow or unexpectedly low pressure, there could be a hidden leak restricting the amount of water coming through your pipes.
  • Mold or mildew growth – Leaks provide the moisture that mold and mildew need to thrive. Check areas that are prone to dampness, including basements, bathrooms, and crawl spaces.
  • Musty odors – Mold and mildew release a distinct, unpleasant smell. If you notice musty odors in your property, investigate the source immediately.
  • Discolored walls/ceilings – Water seeping through the walls or ceiling will often leave visible stains. Be on the lookout for any discoloration, warping, or peeling paint.
  • Cracked or sagging floors – These can be signs of water damage underneath. Check for any uneven areas or buckling in your flooring.
  • Damp or wet areas – Whether it’s a puddle on the floor or a damp patch in the carpet, any visible signs of water where there shouldn’t be is a red flag.
  • Strange noises – If you hear hissing, dripping, or gurgling sounds coming from your pipes, there’s a good chance that water is leaking somewhere.

How to find a water leak

Once you’ve noticed any of the above signs, it’s important to take immediate action. Here are the steps to follow when searching for a water leak.

1. Perform a water meter test

Locate your water meter — it’s usually outside near the curb or street in front of your property, or in a basement or utility room where the main water shut-off valve is — and make a note of the meter reading. Then, turn off all sources of water in your property and check the meter after 30 minutes to an hour. If the meter reading has changed, there’s likely a leak.

2. Examine visible pipes and fixtures

Starting from the highest point of your property, inspect all visible pipes and fixtures for any signs of leaks. Thoroughly check joints and connections, where leaks are most likely to occur.

3. Check appliances

Washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators with water dispensers, and other appliances that use water can also be sources of leaks. Inspect these appliances for any evidence of damage or wear and tear that could cause a leak.

4. Conduct a dye test

If you suspect that your toilet may be leaking, place a few drops of food coloring in the tank and wait for 10 to 15 minutes. If colored water appears in the bowl without flushing, there’s likely a leak.

5. Use technology

There are various tools and devices available that can help detect water leaks, such as infrared cameras, moisture meters, and acoustic listening devices. Consider hiring a professional plumber who has access to these tools for a more thorough inspection.

If you do find a water leak, it’s crucial that you address it immediately. The longer a leak goes without detection or repair, the more extensive the damage it can cause to your property and the higher your water bill will be.

When should you call a professional plumber in Wichita?

If, after following the above steps, you are still unable to locate the source of the leak, it’s time to call in a professional plumber. They have the expertise and experience to identify and fix even the most elusive leaks. Additionally, if the leak is severe or causing significant damage, it’s best to leave the job to a professional.

It’s equally important to schedule routine plumbing maintenance and inspections to catch any potential leaks before they become major issues. By being proactive and staying vigilant, you can save yourself from the headache and expense of dealing with a water leak that has gone undetected for too long.

So, remember to pay attention to the signs, take action when necessary, and don’t hesitate to call a professional when needed. With these tips, you can stay ahead of water leaks and keep your property safe and sound.

Benefiel Plumbing offers professional and reliable plumbing services for both residential and commercial properties in Wichita. Contact us today to schedule a plumbing inspection or to address any plumbing issues you may be experiencing.