If your water bill has unexpectedly increased by as much as 10 percent for no apparent reason, you may wonder if you have a hidden leak in one your pipes. If so, use the following four-step guide to try to find signs of a possible leak.
Step 1: Draw A Rough Diagram Of Your Home
The first step involves preparing for the self-inspection of your home. This is done by drawing a rough diagram of your home where you can mark any potential problem spots you find. By having everything written down, you can show the areas of concern to a plumber, if you find you need one after confirming your suspicions of a leak.
On your diagram, label each room. Also, mark all doorways and windows. You can use a key to make them, and draw a square for windows and circles for doors. Once you have your drawing, perform the following three steps in each room before moving on to the next.
Step 2: Try To Detect Musty Odors
In this step, first stand in the middle of the room, and breathe deeply. Try to see if you detect any musty or stale odors. These smells could be a sign of mold or mildew that has started to grow inside the walls where a water leak has created a moist, dark environment in which it can thrive.
If you do detect a faint odor, start moving around the room to find where it smells the strongest. Mark your diagram with an "S" to designate any areas where you detect the smells. Then, go on to the next step.
Step 3: Look For Discolorations On The Floors, Walls Or Ceilings
After marking the areas of the room where you found strong musty odors, look around for any discolorations on the floor, walls, or ceiling. This is often a sign of water seeping through the structures from a leaking pipe underneath. Most likely, the locations of the discolorations will correspond to the areas you marked in step two.
If someone in your home smokes, this could affect the coloring as well. However, you still want to mark down all areas where you see discolorations so you can check them in the next step.
Mark each area where you see a difference in color with a "D." Then, go on to the fourth step.
Step 4: Feel Around For Moisture Or Soft Spots
This step involves feeling around the room with your hand to see if you find any moisture on the walls. Pay particular attention to any areas on your diagram that have been marked for odors or discolorations, especially if you have any that are marked as both. This could be a strong indicator that you have water leaking in from inside the walls, floor, or ceiling.
As you slowly run your hand along the surfaces, make a note of any moist spots by marking them with an "M." Once you have completed your tactile sweep of the room, return to those areas, and push the surfaces gently with your index finger.
If you detect a soft spot, this could be a sign that a water leak is causing the deterioration of the material. Mark these places with an "S," then repeat steps two through four for each room to see if you can find other possible leaking pipes.
If you find one or more signs of a hidden leaking pipe after following the above steps, you may have a potential problem. If so, you may want to contact a plumbing service like All About Plumbing to have them come out and inspect your home, as well as discuss possible solutions.