7 Signs of a Leaking Pipe in Your Home

7 Signs of a Leaking Pipe in Your Home

The EPA estimates that 1 trillion gallons of water get wasted every year due to a leaking pipe. Their research shows that around 10% of homeowners are making up the bulk of this waste at over 90 gallons per day.

Much of this water goes unnoticed by unwary homeowners. But over a short time, when unaddressed, not only are people wasting a lot of water. They're wasting money and causing serious damage to their homes.

Don't be one of them. Learn the warning signs.

Let's take a look at how to spot a leaky pipe in your home.

1. Skyrocketing Water Bills

Your water bill usually goes up in the summer if you have a lawn. You expect to see a high bill if you filled a pool or let the kids play in the sprinkler every day.

But an unexplainably high bill can be a sign of something much less fun -- a leaking pipe.

It may start small, creeping up a little each month. Or you may get hit with larger than expected bill one month.

Either way, if you don't get it fixed, it will continue to sap your bank account and do damage to your home.

Keep an eye on that water bill month to month. Your water company probably provides you with a month to month comparison to help you identify a problem. Use it to spot a potential leak quickly.

2. Visible Mold & Mildew

A little mold and mildew in the shower is normal even in the cleanest homes. But if you're seeing these outside the tub area you could have a pipe leak.

Molding walls and baseboards, ceilings or floors in the bathroom or kitchen are not normal. That is unless you have a leaking pipe.

3. Musty Smelling Rooms

Sometimes you can smell it before you see it.

The mold and mildew may be inside the walls, vents or under the floor.

Know that it's not normal for rooms to smell musty even if someone takes 5 showers a day. It's likely a leaky pipe.

Water that sits in one place like under a leaking pipe begins to stagnate and produce as terrible odor.

4. Stained and Damaged Ceilings, Walls, Floors

These may be very subtle at first. It could just be a slightly dingy looking spot on a white ceiling. Or you may see the outline of a water mark on a wall.

Stains on these surfaces -- even small ones -- suggest that something else is going on behind the surface.

It may start as a barely noticeable stain. But if the leaking pipe isn't fixed, you end up with significant damage.

This could come in the form of a ceiling that's sagging. Eventually, it will collapse. Who knows what nastiness will come down with it?

The wall may become very bendable. You lean something against it and it leaves an imprint.

A floorboard may be extra creaky. As you step on it, you notice that your foot sinks a little. Eventually, that board will be falling through.

It's important to state here that if your home has poor ventilation and the room stays very high humidity, you may experience these issues without a leaking pipe. But when combined with other signs in this article, this shouldn't be ignored.

5. A Running Meter

You shut all of the water off in the house. You ensure no toilets or appliances are running. Your water meter should completely stop, right?


It's much easier to test water than your electric meter. Barring a power outage, you're always using some electricity.

If that meter is still ticking away, you've probably got a leaking pipe.

6. Wet Spots

You may actually find wet spots. These could be outside your home next to the house or on the lawn. You could see puddles or mud around the outer walls when there has been no rain.

Other times, the wet spots may be in the home.

Where there is water, mold and mildew will soon follow. Maybe structural damage too. So, follow the clues and get that leaking pipe checked out.

7. Foundation Cracks

Homes naturally settle over time. This can lead to little hairline cracks in the ceiling or drywall.

But if you notice a sudden crack of one that unexplainably widened, this could be a leaking pipe that is undermining your home's foundation.

An undermined foundation will slowly sink. As it does, doors, windows, walls and floors will literally get torn apart.

How Much Can a Leaky Pipe Cost You?

If you have a pipe leak that goes unattended, you'll end up with more than a high water bill.

But we'll start there.

Even a slow leak can cost you a lot. The EPA estimates that pipe leaks waste about 10,000 gallons of water per person per year. You could wash nearly 300 loads of clothes with that amount of water.

It comes out to about $29 per person plus any associated sewage fees if we spread it out. But keep in mind, the many people who don't have the leaks, don't pay it.

Only that 10% do. They'll end up footing the outrageous bills that are many, many times this.

According to Homeadvisor, on average, you'll be out of pocket $4000 to repair a foundation.

Mold removal can cost as much as $6000. That doesn't include replacing what they have to tear out.

A simple water damage repair can run as much as $2000.

Expenses like these remind us why you should never delay if you think you have a leaky pipe.

A Leaking Pipe No More

A leaky pipe can do significant damage to your home and your budget. Fortunately, there are clear signs to be on the lookout for.

Pay attention to musty smells in the bathroom, laundry room or kitchen. Be on the lookout for stains or visible mold where it doesn't belong.

If you think you may have a leaky pipe, we can help. We offer 24-hour emergency service in the Estherville and Spirit Lake areas.

Schedule an appointment today!

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