Signs of a Water Leak Behind Walls

Plumbing issues like leaks create water damage, which can become very expensive when ignored for long. They are usually hard to notice, especially when they happen behind the walls, but they can still damage the structure of the house. However, if you know the right signs to look for, you can notice the subtle signs early. Some of the common signs of leaks, which include:

  • Peeling wallpaper or paint
  • Cracks on the ceiling or water stains on the walls
  • Cracked or bucked floors
  • Musty or moldy smell in the room. This usually persists even if you improve the ventilation in that room.
  • Presence of mold and mildew, especially on walls, ceilings, and floors. Check dark areas that aren’t regularly exposed to water and moisture.

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Why Do I Hear Dripping In My Wall?

The dripping sound behind a wall doesn’t automatically mean leaking water. Several factors can cause such sound, and not all of them are dangerous. One of those factors is a faucet that is running. If you use water on the faucet and turn it off, the water will drain along the pipes behind the walls, and you will most likely hear a dripping sound. The same may happen when you use the shower when the remaining water drips off slowly until it dries up. Such drips usually clear away after a while, which means that endless dripping could be a sign of trouble and should be checked. When you use a faucet or the shower, the dripping will stop shortly afterward.

Another reason why you might hear dripping behind the walls is when your pipes are becoming clogged. Clear drains usually allow quick passage of water, which results in the dripping stopping sooner. However, with partially blocked pipes, the water will run down slowly, which means you’ll hear dripping for longer. To determine whether the problems if with clogging, use baking soda, vinegar, and water to try to unblock the pipes. If the dripping persists, call a professional.

Very low temperatures also result in dripping behind the walls. If your pipes start to freeze, they could easily crack and start to drip. Have your plumber listen to the dripping sound and check the pipes, especially when it’s freezing temperatures outside.

How Do You Know If Your Water Is Leaking Behind The Wall?

Looking for the signs mentioned above can help you determine whether you have water leaks behind the walls. However, such leaks are very difficult to spot until they cause bigger damages. It would help if you still tried to identify any signs of leaking by looking for the following signs.

Water collection

Any pool of water near the walls, especially around areas around home appliances that use water like washing machines.

Color changes 

You can also look for any discoloration around the walls or on the floors, especially under carpets. Regardless of the type of material you have on your walls, leaking water will change its color. Look for any places with irregular-shaped discoloration.

Different textures 

Like color changes, water damage will also change the texture of the wall. If you have painted your walls, then you’ll most likely notice the paint buckling and ripping. The wall could also develop a bubble-like shape and sag downwards even if you used wallpaper. As the leak increases, the walls will start to bulge outwards and will eventually fall off.

Mildew and mold formation

At the onset of the leak, your walls will develop molds, which will appear like black dots. Sometimes the mold will grow inside the walls before showing on the exterior but will still cause health problems. If your family suddenly starts to experience respiratory issues related to the presence of mold, then you should have the walls checked. There are also cases where you can’t see the mold, but you can smell it. A musty smell, especially when combined with another sign like discoloration, deserves to be checked. If you do find mold, you will want to have a mold remediation specialist, come and remove the mold to ensure the safety of your family.

Dripping sounds and increased bills

Sometimes leaks cause a lot of damage on the inside walls before showing any signs inside. Listen to any dripping sounds and pay attention to your monthly water bills. If you have a persistent drip and a sudden increase in bills, then you leak.

How Can You Tell Where a Water Leak Is Coming From?

One of the best ways of knowing the origin of your leak is by turning off all the water usage points in your home and then checking your meter. Turn off all the faucets together with the appliance and the shower. If the meter moves even without water being used in the house, then you may have a problem in your pipes.

If you use too much water every month, especially when you don’t have a large family, then your plumbing could be the problem. Excess use of water is usually connected to higher bills. Have a plumber check the plumbing system.
To check whether the toilet is the source of the leak, place food coloring on the tank and check if it continuously flows into the toilet.

Suppose you suspect that the leak is coming from outside. Attach a hose to the spigot to see if it allows water to seep through when being used. Even if the leak is small, it could have a huge impact on your water bills.
Check inside your cabinets and wardrobes for musty odor regularly. This could indicate a leak behind the walls. You should also check your floors and ceilings regularly for any unexplained changes.

What To Do If Your Wall Is Leaking Water?

The first step in identifying the source of the leak before attempting to fix it is finding out whether it is coming from poor plumbing, outside systems like vents and chimneys, or exterior underground systems like sprinkler drainage systems.

After finding a source, you can call ServiceMaster Fire & Water Damage Restoration, to help you fix it. However, if you suspect that it’s coming from your clogged gutters, it results in flashing. You can fix it yourself by cleaning and removing the barriers, respectively. Underground sources of leaks are also more challenging to repair and will require the services of a professional. Your plumber can also help you conform to whether your suspicions about the source are right.

Preventing water leaks is still the best way to avoid spending a lot of money and repairs. You should always hire a reputable plumber to install your systems and have regular maintenance on those systems