How to Detect Hidden Water Leaks in Your Home

If you’ve noticed that your water bill seems to be increasing (and you didn’t install a swimming pool this summer…), then the rise in cost could be due to hidden water leaks at your home.

This is a problem that doesn’t just cause higher water bills, but the leak(s) could also lead to serious structural damage to your family’s home or property. And that’s not to mention the fact that this moisture could eventually help foster the development of mold in your home. Mold is a dangerous fungus that could lead to a variety of health problems for your loved ones.

You may wonder how you can detect “hidden” water leaks in your home. We’ve put together some helpful tips so you will know what to look for when it comes to this common household problem.

Perform a food coloring test with your toilet

Toilets account for nearly half of the water use in the average home. This is why it’s critical to make sure this plumbing fixture doesn’t have a leak. To see whether your toilet is leaking between flushes, you can perform a simple test with food coloring.

Place several drops of food coloring in the water in your toilet’s tank. Wait fifteen minutes or so and then check the water down in the toilet bowl. If you see that the coloring from the water in the tank above has made its way into the water in the bowl below, your toilet tank likely has a leak. If you notice this toilet issue at your home, you might simply need to replace the flapper — the rubber piece in the upper tank that covers the drain — or you may need to contact a plumber for diagnostic and repair help.

Take a look at all water line connections

Over time, the connections from your home’s water lines to your plumbing fixtures and appliances will slowly begin to weaken. When this happens, a connection is no longer as secure as it once was, and this may lead to a slow loss of water. If you notice oxidation, rusting, or any type of discoloration on the connection, this can be an indication that it’s time to consider a replacement.

Look at the connections at your sinks, washing machine, water heater, toilet, showers, tubs, and so on. If you notice an issue, call a professional plumber.

Common warning signs of water leaks inside a home

  • Water spots/damage can be seen inside cabinets.
  • Musty odors seem to emanate from different areas in the home where a leak may exist.
  • Stains can be seen on floors, walls, or ceilings.
  • Mold growth appears on surfaces.

Check for leaks outside

Now that you’ve looked at some of the most common problem areas for water leaks inside your home, it’s time to venture outside. Check your garden hose(s). It’s not unheard of for them to be not completely shut off after each use. This may not seem like a lot of water being lost, but it certainly adds up over time.

Additionally, check for puddles of water on your lawn. If it hasn’t rained in your area lately, but you still see a noticeable accumulation of water in your yard, this could be an indication of an underground water leak with the pipes connecting to your home. Your water lines may be experiencing normal wear and tear, or a tree/bush root may have grown through and cracked the line, leading to the water loss.

Lastly, if you have a sprinkler system in your home, have it inspected on a routine basis — each spring/summer, if possible. During an inspection, a pro will be able to determine whether the system has a leak that needs to be repaired before it costs you extra money on your monthly water bills.

If you notice any outdoor water leaks, an experienced plumber will be able to help pinpoint the cause of the problem and resolve it in a timely manner.

Monitor your water meter

To determine if you have a slow or fast leak, you can do another simple test. This time, it’s with your water meter. Shut off your shower/tubs, sinks, dishwasher, washing machine, etc. Watch your water meter to see if it’s still changing — even with everything shut off. If it’s changing, this could indicate that you have a fast-moving water leak at your home. If you don’t notice an immediate change, then this may mean that the leak(s) is slower.

Water leaks will cost you…

The longer you wait to get the leak taken care of, the more damage it’ll likely do and the more expensive it’ll be to get the cause of the issue resolved. For assistance with outdoor water leaks, consider enrolling ahead of time in our Outside Water Line Protection Plan. When you’re enrolled in the plan and a covered leaking problem occurs, just give us a call and we’ll locate a local pre-qualified service provider from our network to help fix the issue. And for leaks inside your home, consider enrolling in our Plumbing Protection Plan.