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How to Detect a Water Leak: 3 Scenarios (Plus a Bonus!)

Water leak in sink

Published By: Vince Vince

If there’s one thing that all homeowners should fear, it’s a water leak. Not only can leaky pipes and fixtures cause thousands of dollars in damage if they go undetected, but they can also damage irreplaceable family memories like photos, heirlooms, and other priceless objects. And if the water doesn’t cause damage, the moisture will—rot and mold are especially insidious problems many homeowners have to deal with every year.

Since we are all staying at home as much as possible, I thought I’d do a post on how to find leaks around the house. Why not learn how to detect a problem before it becomes a problem so that you can actually, I don’t know, enjoy living in your home while you’re stuck there?

I’m game, are you? All right! So, sit back and take a quick peek at how to detect a water leak in three common situations.

Hot Water Heater

Hot water heaters can be deceptive. Just because there is a puddle of H2O near your heater doesn’t mean it’s leaking. Condensation commonly accumulates on the pipes and surfaces in the surrounding area. If your hot water tank is in the basement, it’s even more likely that condensation is the culprit.

To determine whether your puddle is the result of a leak or condensation, first dry the area and any wet fixtures and pipes. Then, check all the pipes periodically to determine if the moisture has reappeared. If it is a leak, you should be able to locate the source.

Sink

If you notice moisture below your sink, you probably have a water leak in the supply line, the shutoff valves, or the slip joints in the waste line. For the first two, you must first look for wetness on the lines themselves. Run a dry paper towel along the supply lines and shutoff valves to see if they are wet. For the slip joint, fill the sink with water and then check all the joints along the waste line while the water drains. If any major leaks exist, you’ll see them.

Toilet

Toilets can leak just like any other plumbing fixture in the house, and when they do, they can cause a lot of damage. There are two primary sources of toilet leaks—the supply lines and the flange. To detect leakages in the supply lines, check them with a dry paper towel as in the example with the sink above.

Flange leaks can be especially damaging. If you notice any of the following signs in your bathroom, you probably have a flange leak:

  • Water seeping out around the base of the toilet
  • Stained flooring or carpet near the toilet
  • Stained or damaged ceiling in the room below the toilet

Unless you know how to fix these types of water leaks, it’s best to call a professional plumber.

Bonus: 3 More Place to Check for Water Leaks

If none of the examples above is the source of the unexplained water, try checking these three places as well:

  • Water spigots on the outside of the house
  • The meter line
  • Shower heads

Not able to figure out where the water is coming from? That’s OK! Give us a call today and we’ll send one of our expert plumbers to find the source.