water leak from ceiling

How to Detect a Water Leak?

16 December 2021

At some point or another, unless you have been very lucky, will have experienced a water leak at some time or another at home. While we don’t fix water leaks ourselves, we can provide some useful advice on how to detect if your house is suffering with a water leak. As damp specialists, we are all too aware of water leaks because they can ultimately lead to having damp problems.

There are a number of reasons why leaks can occur, from a burst pipe to a leaking washing machine. It is important that as soon as you spot a leak to make sure that you get it fixed as quickly as possible or you could end up having secondary problems such as penetrating damp.

Water damage at your property can be costly for property and while it is hard not to avoid leaks you should take steps to reduce the risks as soon as possible. A small drip from a tap may seem like nothing more than something that might just keep you up at night but it could actually lead to a serious problem.

Issues from Water Leaks

The potential problems resulting from water leaks can be severe depending on how long it takes for you to identify the problem and have the water leak fixed. If a pipe leaks or bursts during the night while you are sleeping, then the water can have several hours head start to cause damage to your home.

There are a lot of insurance policies that do not cover water damage so be aware of this. If your insurance policy does not cover flooding or water damage, then this will mean you will have to pay the heavy expense of all damaged furnishings by yourself.

Another potential issue of a water leak is damp. Dampness can cause extensive damage to your property if not dealt with earlier enough. If damp affects the timber frames underneath the floors of your building, then this can lead to dry rot and wet rot issues which can cause severe structural damage.

How Do You Detect Water Leaks?

You might think that detecting water leaks is just by seeing water damage but there are checks you can do to identify water even if it isn’t immediately visible:

  • A simple sign that you might have a water leak is that your water usage bills have suddenly increased. You should make sure you check your account with your water supplier to see how much water you are using.
  • Another potential sign of a leak is if you notice that there is a drop in the water pressure when you are using a bath or shower. To see if this is a problem you should turn off all the connected plumbing fixtures in your house, then only turning one back on at a time. If you notice that the pressure is higher than it originally was then it is more than likely that you have a leak somewhere.
  • If you notice that the hot water boiler comes on constantly, without any form of interaction, then it is possible that there is a leak in your hot water pipe.

Patches of Grass Are Greener Than the Rest of the Garden

We all want to have a nice green garden but if there are areas of your garden that are greener than the rest of the grass, then it is possible that there might be a leak. If the leak is severe then it is possible that there may be puddles on the surface of the ground.

Check Appliances and Fixtures

If the water meter reading implies that there may be a water leak then you should check the areas near fitted units in the kitchen, bathroom sinks etc. to ensure that they are all dry.

If you do notice that are puddles, then turn off the water supply for that particular appliance and then call your plumber to fix the problem.

Other Signs to Be Aware Of

If there is a burst pipe and a spray of water, then it is quite noticeable where the leak is coming from. There are other types of leaks that are a lot harder to find.

You might not notice it, but water could be trickling from a pipe within the wall, and you only become aware of the water leak when an extensive amount of damage has already been caused. So, what signs should you be aware of that are not as immediately obvious?

Discolouration of the walls

If there is discolouration to a wall, then there may well be water leaking behind the wall and penetrating its way to the front. Discolouration of the walls tends to be black and yellow in colour.

Sound of Water Dripping

While you might not be able to see water leaking in your house you might be able to hear water dripping. If you do hear water dripping, then try and find the origin of where it is coming from then turn off the immediate water supply and call your local plumber.

Bubbling or Bulging Wallpaper

If you notice that the wallpaper is bubbling or bulging, then this indicates that any water damage is quite severe and the plasterboard may need to be replaced.

It is also a sign of dampness as well so if you notice that the wallpaper is bubbling or bulging then we recommend contacting a fully qualified damp surveyor to inspect the affected wall.

Mould Growth and Damp Musty Smell

If a leak is left to its own devices and not fixed, then it can lead to the ideal conditions for black mould growth. Black mould growth will be visible if it is on the outside of the interior wall but if it is on the inside of the wall then this will prove more difficult to identify. If the black mould growth is growing on the inside of the walls then one of the key identifiers is a musty smell.

Mould growth and a damp musty smell is not always a sign that there is a water leak as it could also be a damp or condensation problem. This is where a damp specialist can help.

It is also important to note that not all water leaks are associated with plumbing issues. Water could be causing damage as a result of a damaged roof, cracks in walls or blocked gutters.

We hope this article has provided with you some useful tips for identifying water leaks within your house. The important thing to remember is the earlier you identify the water leak the easier it will be to fix the problem.

If there are signs of dampness, as described above then you can book a survey online or you can call us on 0800 288 8660.