Identifying and Diagnosing Home Plumbing Leak Issues

While there are certain plumbing concerns that may take place in your home that present obvious and up-front signs, such as a clogged toilet or a problem with a failing water heater, there are others that may be a bit tougher to diagnose or even identify to begin with. Perhaps the single greatest example of this sort of thing is a broad category: Plumbing leaks, which may come up in unseen areas of the home and could sit unnoticed for some period of time in many cases.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we’re happy to offer a robust range of 24-hour plumbing services in Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah, handling numerous potential issues your system may be dealing with – including leaks in any location. Our clients are often a big asset when dealing with these kinds of concerns, though, and this is because a savvy homeowner will be able to spot the signs or indicators of a leak in the plumbing system before it creates major water damage or other problems. To help you with this process, here are several common signs of plumbing leaks you should be aware of, plus how to evaluate them if they’re present and what to do next.

identifying home plumbing leak

Increasing Bill

The first potential sign of a plumbing leak, and easily the simplest and most common you’ll run into, is an increasing water bill compared to previous months – or compared to the same month from the prior year. If you haven’t made any significant changes to your water usage during the month in question, but your bill is spiking regardless, this could be a telltale sign.

Now, if this is something you recently noticed, it’s important to investigate a bit further to confirm that a leak is actually the issue. It’s possible a spiking water bill could be due to some other issue, such as a blockage in your water heater or an issue with your filtration system; you should do your best to at least rule out these causes first. In addition, take a basic walk around your home and visually inspect any visible plumbing pipes, which will often be found underneath bathroom sinks and in basement areas – in some cases, leaks will be in these visible locations and you’ll be able to spot them right away due to clear signs of water damage.

Mold or Mildew Issues

Speaking of water damage, another common result it creates is the presence of mold, mildew or both. These damp spots serve as ideal conditions for mold to fester and grow in, and you’ll often notice this due to the dank, musty smell that will be found in the room where mold is present.

Once again, you should do your due diligence to confirm that any mold located is not due to some other cause, such as a crack in your foundation or issues with cement or asphalt on your garage floor, driveway or other connected areas. But even if the cause turns out not to be a leak concern, mold is harmful to human health and must be remediated by professionals, something you should be attending to right away.

Foundation Problems

We mentioned the foundation just now, and while issues with the foundation can sometimes be the cause of excess water in the home, the flip side is also possible: Issues taking place in or around your home’s foundation may signal a plumbing leak somewhere nearby, one that’s impacting the foundation negatively. Your plumbing pipes run through a variety of home areas, including some that pass through or connect to the foundation itself – if they are leaking, they may have begun to damage it.

The most common sign here will be cracks in the foundation, sometimes visible from the outside of the home. If you’re sure these weren’t caused by some other issue, such as poor foundation sealing or exterior drainage issues from your roof and gutters, you should be investigating plumbing leaks in the area, or contacting our team of plumbers to assist you in this effort.

Wet Spots

In addition to visible pipe areas, which we mentioned earlier, you should be performing a basic visual inspection of all major plumbing areas: Sinks, tubs, toilets, the water heater and any others present in your home. If you see any wet spots, or even if you notice that the floor in any of these areas is discolored in a way that might signal recent water damage, this could be a sign of a leaking pipe in the area. Especially if this sign is combined with any of the others we’ve mentioned to this point, you may have a pretty good idea that there’s a leak issue on your hands.

Water Meter Signals

Finally, one of the most universal signs that you may have a leak, and one that savvy homeowners will use to confirm their suspicions if they’ve noticed some of the other red flags we’ve mentioned here but can’t be totally sure: Your home’s water meter, which is usually located outside the home on your siding somewhere. Our plumbers will be happy to teach you how to read and understand your water meter, which is very simple; once you know how, simple check the meter if you suspect a leak is present. If the meter is running even while you’re 100% sure you’ve turned off all the water inside and outside your home, it’s a telltale sign that there’s a leak.

For more on how to spot and diagnose a plumbing leak, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.