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6 Warning Signs to Help You Catch a Leak at Home

Avoid damaging your home and expensive repairs.

Close up of a silver faucet in kitchen
Clean kitchen faucet.

Maintaining a clean home goes beyond removing dust from surfaces and organizing the pantry. It also means looking out for issues that may cause structural damage. Plumbing especially is something we don't often think about or inspect frequently. In fact, most homeowners are rarely aware of deterioration until it is too late.

The most common plumbing issue is leakage. Whether that is a dripping faucet, or behind the scenes behind walls, beneath flooring or inside appliances, it's not something you want to deal with. Longterm, these leaks could cost you more in water bills and even more in repairs if they are not dealt with immediately.

It's important to spot the warning signs before the damage happens. Here's how to spot for warning signs of a possible leak at home.

1. Water spots

Close up view of a wall and ceiling surface
Close up of wall and ceiling.

Keep an eye out for visual signs of leakage. Water spots will appear beneath the source of a leak. The most common water spots are found on the ceiling below the bathroom, or below a room containing a sink. On drywall, a water spot will appear yellow or light brown making it easier to spot. If you see a water spot, contact a plumbing professional before it gets worse.

2. Listen for drips

Leaky faucet dripping water from tap
Leaky faucet dripping water from tap.

Be aware of your faucets and listen closely for drips. If you think there might be a possible leak, try turning on the shower or faucet and head to another room to listen closely. You could hear an audible drip or hissing sound that could be an indication of a hidden leak.

3. Loose shower heads

Shower head mounted on bathroom wall in bathtub
Shower head mounted on wall.

A common leak source could be the arm where the shower head attaches. Frequent rotation or movement of the shower head could loosen the connection between the arm and the pipe. To prevent a shower head leak from happening, contact a plumber to secure the connection.

4. Lingering odors

Clean white bathroom with grey walls
Clean bathroom.

If you're experiencing an unpleasant smell in your home it may not be from the garbage. Test this by flushing the toilet. If you notice a sewage-like odor after flushing the pipes could be to blame. Sewage pipes can actually crack and leak inside your bathroom and the areas surrounding your home. Contact a plumber to fix this leak as soon as possible.

5. Low water pressure

Faucet turned on with water coming out
Faucet turned on.

An unexplained drop in water pressure could mean there is a leak in the system. While clogged pipes and damaged valves on the water heat could be the actual cause, it's important to get a good checkup on your system either way. It could solve the leaking issue or fix your water pressure issue–either way it's a win.

6. Check under the sink

Plumber under the sink fixing a leak in kitchen
Plumber fixing a leaking sink.

The U-shape bend often seen in bathroom plumbing systems are usually the source of internal leaks. Check under the sink for signs for warped wood found in the cabinet where the sinks pipes are located. Catching this leak could save you thousands of dollars because a leak in this spot could cause mold to grow quickly.


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