Every year, we lose 1 trillion gallons of water a year to nationwide plumbing leaks. If that number is too hard to conceptualize, let’s put it this way: 10% of American households have a leak that is contributing 90+ gallons of water to our nation’s leak waste every day.
90 gallons a day is nothing to sneeze at. The problem for most homeowners is that they don’t realize they’re dealing with a water leak until something catastrophic happens.
We’re here to change that. We love sharing expert plumbing tips with our clients, and today, we want to talk about signs that you’re dealing with water leakage so that you can stop a water leak before it turns catastrophic.
Ready to get started? Read on to learn ten of the most common signs that your property is facing a water leak.
1. An Increased Water Bill
There are some months when you may notice a normal increase in your water bill. For example, if you’re watering your lawn to keep things green in healthy during the hot St. Petersburg summers, you’re likely to notice your water bill creeping up a bit.
However, if you notice an unusual increase in your water bill when you don’t feel like you’re using more water than normal, it’s likely that you’re dealing with something like a pipe or sink leak. Remember, leaks can lead to tens of gallons of waste every day. That’s going to add up quickly.
2. Noticeable Mold and Mildew Growth
Mold and mildew need a few different conditions to grow, and the most important factor is water or humidity. Some types of mold can take hold within as little as 24 hours when an area or room is constantly damp.
Mold and mildew can present health hazards, especially for anyone who has pre-existing respiratory problems. If you notice mold or mildew growth in your home, don’t ignore it. Investigate the source of the moisture, mitigate mold growth, and stop the water leak.
3. Musty or Earthy Smells
Not all mold growth occurs in easily noticeable places. While you’re bound to notice mold growing on frequently used appliances, walls, or floors, you won’t notice mold that’s growing behind your walls, where most of your plumbing lies.
The good news is that there’s more than one way to detect mold growth. If you start to notice that a room (ie your bathroom or basement) smells musty or earthy, it’s time to assess your plumbing. These smells often indicate that mold is growing in large amounts.
4. Water Stains
Water stains on your floors, walls, or ceiling indicate the presence of a persistent wet spot that has a tendency to dry and return. Water stains are typically darker than the surface they’ve developed on. For example, if you have white walls, water stains may have a yellowish hue and an organic, semi-round shape.
Water stains on a ceiling can indicate either a plumbing or roof leak. Water stains on the walls or floors can also indicate both of these things but are more likely to indicate a plumbing leak. Make sure to find and address the source.
5. Consistent or Frequent Wet Spots
Water stains tend to indicate an old leak that has yet to be addressed. If the leak is new, you are more likely to notice a constant or frequent wet spot that appears in the same place. For example, you may notice a wet spot on the bathroom floor when your toilet is leaking.
It’s easy to assume that a wet spot is the result of a spill, not a leak. However, if you clean it up and it returns, it’s time to look for a plumbing leak. Wet spots often appear beneath leaking pipes, so be sure to regularly inspect any cabinets under your sinks and other places you might normally overlook.
6. Spongy Wood
Nowadays, exposed wood flooring is all the rage. In many ways, wood flooring is durable and built to last. However, wood is also a porous material and when exposed to water on a regular basis, it can develop a soft or spongy texture.
Water-damaged wood may change colors, but the most noticeable sign is the change in texture. If you believe that an area of wood flooring is water damaged, push your fingers into it. If it feels pliable, this likely indicates a nearby water leak.
7. Low Water Pressure
You turn on your shower and notice that the stream of water is weaker than it used to be. You go to fill up a glass with drinking water and it takes longer than it should. Low water pressure can indicate a variety of problems, some easy to fix, but it can also indicate a water leakage somewhere in your house.
One of the first steps you can take is asking your neighbors if they’re experiencing low water pressure. If so, it may be an issue with the water mains supplying your street. If no one else is having water pressure problems, it’s time to call a plumber to address the source.
8. Foundation Issues
What are two words that no homeowner ever wants to hear? “Foundation issues.” That’s because foundation damage can be some of the most expensive damage to fix in a property of any size.
When you’ve got an underground or basement water leak, you can end up with some serious foundation issues. Water leaks can cause foundations to sink or crack, which can lead to major structural issues. If you start to notice that your windows or ceiling are cracking or your doors and windows are no longer closing properly, it’s time to investigate the foundation for potential issues, including water leaks.
9. Sagging Ceilings
Perhaps one of the most dangerous outcomes of a water leak between floors is a sagging ceiling. When water is leaking in a second-floor bathroom or an overhead apartment, you might start to notice that the ceiling below is starting to dip or sag. This indicates that the materials are becoming heavy and compromised due to constant moisture, and even slow sagging can become a problem.
Why is this such a big deal? As your ceiling sags under the weight and destruction of a water leak, it loses its structural integrity. A severely water-damaged ceiling is going to collapse, posing a threat to people above and below.
10. Peeling or Bubbling Walls
Maybe you’ve noticed that the paint or wallpaper is starting to peel away from the wall or develop unsightly bubbles. Is this happening because the paint or wallpaper is old? Probably not.
The presence of moisture on or inside of a wall can make both paint and wallpaper less adhesive, causing both to peel away in pieces or strips. Moisture can also cause both to develop air bubbles. Peeling or bubbling is often an indicator that there is a leak somewhere inside of your walls, which requires immediate mitigation.
What to Do About Water Leakage
Now that we’ve talked about some of the most common signs of a water leak in your home, it’s time to talk about what to do. Water leaks are often hard to locate and in some cases, require replacement parts or new pipes. This is not the time for a DIY project, which can lead to worsening or more costly problems if done wrong.
Instead, you should call your local St. Petersburg plumber and ask about leak detection services. With top-of-the-line leak detection equipment, your plumber can track down leaks without having to tear out your appliances or walls. Once your plumber finds the source of the leak, they will have the tools and parts to address it with ease.
Remember, unmitigated water leaks won’t just lead to water waste and an increased water bill. Many water leaks pose serious threats to your property over time and can result in dangerous accidents or expensive repairs. Save yourself the time, money, and headache by asking your local plumber for detection leak and mitigation services.
Let Home Team Plumbers Help Fix and Prevent Your Water Leak
If you’ve ever wondered, “Do I have a water leak?” this ultimate guide is for you. Keep this list of water leak signs handy and keep an eye out for any worrisome changes in and around your home.
Are you worried that you do, in fact, have a water leak? Do you need a reliable plumber in St. Pete, Florida? If so, let Home Team Plumbers give you a helping hand.
Contact us and let us know what kinds of plumbing services you need. We’ll get your appointment scheduled right away.