Most pipes are out of sight and out of mind, but you still need to pay attention to them. Many water leaks start slowly. Pipe couplings and other fittings could gradually fail. Over time, water pressure expands a dripping pinhole leak into a stream of water. Knowing how to detect and repair a hidden leak saves you from higher repair costs. When you fix a leak early, you avoid major water damage that warps or rots floors, walls, or ceilings.
Plumbing Tools Needed
- Water leak detector
- Food coloring
- Small bucket
Signs of a Hidden Water Leak
A slow drip inside a wall or ceiling will eventually soak through to somewhere visible. Discolored or peeling paint often indicates that moisture is compromising the building material.
Mold growth could accompany hidden moisture in your house. You may smell a musty odor or see dark patches on the wall or ceiling. Sometimes people hear a leak. A small one could produce a faint hissing sound.
How to Detect and Repair a Hidden Leak
- Look over your water bills.
- Figure out your typical water usage.
- If water consumption is going up without explanation, such as watering the garden, start looking for a leak.
- Inspect all visible pipes in your basement, crawl space, and under sinks.
- llluminate plumbing with a flashlight and look for condensation or drips.
- Look beneath pipes for puddles or mold growth.
- Buy a water leak detector and pass it along pipes to see if it alerts you to water.
- Place a small bucket underneath outdoor faucets.
- Check bucket the following day to see if it collected any water.
- Place small buckets beneath sink drain lines.
- Check the bucket the following day for water.
- Pour a little food coloring into toilet tanks.
- Check the toilet bowl later to see if color is leaking into it.
- Check your faucets to confirm that they shut off completely. Even a slow drip adds up in terms of water usage.
To fix a leaking water supply line:
- Shut off the water coming into the house.
- Replace failing pipe and/or fittings.
- The process for replacing the pipes and fittings depends on the material being used.
To fix a leaking drain assembly:
- Place a bucket or pan under the P-trap pipe under the sink.
- Unscrew the nuts on both ends of the P-trap.
- Pour out the water in the trap.
- Replace the drain assembly parts that are the source of the leak.
To fix a leaking toilet tank:
- Shut off the water supply valve to the tank.
- Replace the toilet flapper that covers the hole that flushes the tank into the bowl.
To fix a leaking faucet:
- Either replace the faucet or get a washer repair kit for your brand of faucet.
- Shut off the hot and cold water supply lines to the faucet.
- If using a washer repair kit, unscrew the handles of the faucet.
- Remove the interior parts and keep track of their assembly order.
- Install the new washers and reassemble the faucet handles.
Get Help Tracking Down a Hidden Water Leak
Leaks in pipes inside your walls can be difficult to find. Plumbers from Oliver can inspect your plumbing and detect small leaks with their equipment. Our team completes jobs of all sizes. Don’t hesitate to ask us to repair a minor leak. Any amount of leaking water threatens your home’s structure. Contact us about plumbing repairs today.