The last thing any homeowner wants to encounter in their home is a water leak. Water leaks, whether large or small, can potentially lead to many different types of issues. Unfortunately, leaks aren’t always easy to identify, and the damage they cause tends to progress slowly. By the time you identify a potential problem, it might be too late. It’s important to not only know how to find a water leak once you suspect there might be one in your home, but also to know the signs to look for to maximize your chances of catching it early enough to avoid a disaster.
How to Identify a Possible Leak
One of the biggest issues with water leaks is that they might not present any noticeable symptoms until the problem becomes serious. In general, things that should send up a red flag include small spots of discoloration on walls, mold spots, unusual sounds, and excessive wetness in areas that aren’t normally wet.
If you have wallpaper in your home, it might start to peel off or inflate in small bubbles around affected areas. Some types of paint present this issue as well, so check around showers, sinks, and bathtubs for bubbling, cracking, or peeling paint. Wood details and furniture can also warp over time when exposed to moisture, which can be particularly problematic if the issue affects elements like window and door frames. Be sure to check these areas as well for any signs of potential damage.
Pay attention to any unusual smells as well. It usually takes some time before a problem like this becomes noticeable through smell alone, but it’s still something worth keeping an eye (or nose) out for. Of course, remember that small issues with smell can also arise from isolated mold problems, and they are not necessarily indicative of a leak. Either way, if you notice any of these things in your home, it’s best to call a professional right away.
Narrow Down the Source
Once you know you have a problem on your hands, you should do your best to narrow down the source before proceeding with any actions that might disrupt your water supply. If you feel like you want to go it alone, you can locate your home’s water controls and turn off individual lines, if applicable, or just turn off the main supply.
You should also compare the readings on your water meter before and after turning off the water and monitor it for a few hours to see if anything changes. If it’s gone up, then the leak is likely somewhere within your plumbing. Otherwise, you might be dealing with something external, such as groundwater seeping in, which will require a specialist’s assistance. Luckily, your local plumbing and HVAC specialist is trained to deal with this type of issue if you are not prepared to do it on your own.
Using Tools to Pinpoint the Exact Location
Once you have a rough idea of where the leak is likely located, you should use some tools to pinpoint the spot properly. A moisture meter can be used to measure excessive levels of moisture with high precision. Combined with an infrared camera – which can visualize temperature differences – you should be able to figure out exactly where the leak is. Then, you can start carefully going through any necessary sections of the wall to uncover the issue behind it. Of course, if you don’t have access to any of these tools, or you don’t feel comfortable pulling apart your walls, it may be time for a professional to step in.
If you decide to do it on your own, make sure that you take things slowly – the integrity of your home might be partially affected by the water damage, and that won’t always be obvious. When in doubt, wait for specialists to assist you.
What to Do Once You Know Where the Leak Is
In most cases, you should avoid dealing with a problem like this on your own. Always leave it in the hands of qualified experts who will know how to approach the problem and mitigate the spread while minimizing the damage to your home. Identifying the leak and its source should be more than enough to get things started – the rest should be done by specialists. In fact, you might want to leave some steps in their hands as well, such as getting through parts of your walls, since this can often be a risky approach with hidden dangers.
Water damage in a home is not always readily identifiable. Leaks may be hidden inside walls, so looking for small clues around your home can help you identify a problem and decide if you want to fix it yourself or call in a specialist before disaster strikes. As your local plumbing and HVAC specialists, O’Neal Solutions is here for you and ready to help you keep your home dry, healthy, and free from water leaks. Give us a call today for a checkup or inspection of any areas of your home that you feel may lead to issues; we’re happy to help!