Do you have plumbing leaks? Many residential plumbing leaks are small and occur in hard-to-see places, but they often leave signs that there’s an issue with a water line. If you own a home, make sure you know how to spot hidden plumbing leaks so you can get any leaks repaired. Here are four signs to look for.
1. Water Bill Shows an Unexpected Increase
You should expect to see seasonal fluctuations in your water bill, as your water usage likely changes with the time of year.
For example, you may regularly water the grass and fill a kiddie swimming pool during the warmer months. Both of these activities use water and will increase your bill. Alternatively, you might not use as much water during cooler months if you don’t tend to your yard and spend more time indoors once temperatures drop.
These seasonal fluctuations in your water bill shouldn’t cause concern, but any unexpected increase in the bill is a possible sign of a hidden leak. If there is a leak somewhere in your home’s plumbing, the water that seeps out through that leak will increase how much water flows through your meter and how much water you’re billed for.
If you’re unsure whether an increase in your water bill is a normal fluctuation or an unexpected change, compare the usage to your usage during the same month a year ago. Most water bills record your past usage. Normal fluctuations will result in similar usage levels from one year to the next. A leak would result in a much higher usage than you previously had.
In the event that a leak does cause your water bill to spike, you might not have to pay the excess you’re charged for. Many water providers will reduce an unexpectedly high water bill to your average monthly bill if you provide evidence that a leak was repaired. They might limit this offer to once per year.
2. Water Meter Continues to Show Usage
If you have access to your home’s water meter, you can check yourself for substantial leaks. The process takes a little while but is simple to do:
- Turn every faucet in your home off.
- Make sure no other water sources are running (toilets, washing machines, etc.).
- Take your water meter’s reading.
- Wait a while (1 hour or more) without using any water.
- Take your water meter’s reading again.
Don’t forget to also make sure no outdoor hoses are turned on and any sprinkler system you have is turned off while doing this check.
The two readings you take ought to match, for no water should flow through the meter when everything is turned off. If the second reading is higher than the first, then water flowed through the meter. Either there was something that you didn’t have turned off, or there’s a leak somewhere in your home’s plumbing.
Some water meters have a flow indicator, in which case you don’t need to wait to see if the meter goes up. The flow indicator shows whether water is moving through the meter or not at any given moment. If it shows that water is moving through the meter when everything is off, there’s a leak somewhere.
3. Mildew and Mold Growth Near Water Lines
Mildew and mold growth are common in bathtubs and shower, especially if they aren’t cleaned regularly. Because water inevitably collects in tubs and showers, mildew and mold are bound to grow in these areas unless you apply something that kills the spores, such as a commercial mildew cleaner or vinegar.
Mildew or mold growth elsewhere in your home, however, is a sign that there’s a humidity problem where the spores are growing. This could be caused by generally high humidity levels in your house, or it might be caused by a leak. Growth on the ceiling is likely indicative of a leak in your home’s roof. Growth near water lines usually indicates a plumbing leak in the area.
4. Musty Odors Remain in Your Home
Similarly, you may notice a sustained musty smell in your home. Even if you don’t actually see mildew or mold, they can give off musty odors that your olfactory senses may pick up.
Sometimes simply airing out your home can get rid of a musty smell, particularly if your home has been closed up for a prolonged period of time while you were away or when the weather wasn’t pleasant.
When airing out your home doesn’t resolve a musty smell, the odor needs to be investigated. It might be caused by anything from a wet bath towel that was left on the floor to a plumbing leak. Whatever the cause, it should be identified before the problem becomes more severe.
If you notice any of these three signs in your home, contact Windy City Rooter to check for plumbing leaks on your home.