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How to Find a Plumbing Leak


Homeowners know that a water leak, even a small leak or slow leak, no matter how insignificant, can eventually lead to major water damage, and being able to see the signs of a leak to know to call a professional plumber can be critical. Leak detection, and finding the plumbing problems that your plumbing system may have, can take different routes; from listening for hissing sounds, or sounds of water running, looking for water stains, or even simply keeping a close eye on your water usage and your water bill.

There are also many different plumbing systems throughout your home that can be the culprit if you suspect you have a leak. Irrigation systems, toilet tanks and bad flappers, washing machines or washer/dryer combos, bad shut-off valves or even hidden leaks from cast iron water pipes and water lines behind the drywall of your home; all of these systems could need inspection, and all have the potential to have gallons of water leak out over time. Slow leaks are still leaks and need to be taken care of.

Locate Leaks In Your Kansas City Home

Sometimes it can be hard to determine the location of a water leak in your plumbing system. It’s important to find it quickly, though, because minor and small leaks can turn into major problems if left unrepaired. If your water bill has gone up, your meter is running continuously, or you’re experiencing some problems with mold and mildew or musty smells, it’s time for a little DIY hunt for that leak.

  • First, make sure you really have a leak. Move your appliances to see if there’s moisture around or under them, and if that doesn’t pan out, turn off all faucets and fixtures for about eight hours. Mark the needle placement on your water meter with a piece of tape, and after eight hours, see if the needle has moved and if it shows water usage. If it has, you definitely have a leak.
  • Look in the bathroom. There are plenty of places that could be leaking in the bathroom. Look under your sink to make sure it’s not the drain, then move on to your shower and tub. Splash water at the closed shower door to see if any escapes, look for loose tiles or gaps in the grout to find a tile leak, and fill the bathtub, plug the drain, and check to see if the water level has dropped after an hour. If you only have a shower and no tub, you’ll need to measure the diameter of the drain and purchase a test plug to check for drain leaks. If neither the shower nor the tub is the cause of the leak, look to the toilet. If there’s moisture or loose tiles around the toilet, or stains on the ceiling below, the problem may be your toilet flange.
  • Check out the kitchen. As with the bathroom, the first place to look is under the sink. Your drain could be leaking, or it could be a problem with the supply line, which you can determine by turning it off and back on again. Take everything out from under the sink so you can thoroughly inspect for moisture. The sink rim might also be leaking, so dribble water around the rim and look in the cabinet underneath to see if any water is coming through.
  • Examine your house from crawlspace to ceiling. Signs of a leaking pipe or moisture include warped or spongy spots in the flooring, stains on the ceilings or walls, bubbling or peeling paint or wallpaper, or the presence of mold, mildew, musty smells or water damage to wood. Pay special attention to the water heater: a leaky water heater must be replaced immediately, or it can burst. If you can’t find a leak anywhere in your house, and your meter is still running, it’s a good indication that you have a leak in your main water supply or main water line.

Drops in water pressure, discoloration of drywall or of ceilings, corrosion as water seeps into subfloor and foundations; all of this can be repaired or even avoided if you can find the leak right away.

If you’ve got a leak, it may be time to call in the professionals at A-1 Sewer and Septic Service. Having served the residents of the Kansas City Metro Area since 1968, we’ve earned a reputation for efficient service at affordable, up-front prices. We’re available on your schedule, and we offer same-day and weekend service. Give us a call at 913-359-8622, or reach us through the Contact Us page on our website.