It’s a scene you’re probably familiar with from many movies—or maybe even this classic Donald Duck cartoon: our hero is laying in bed, tossing and turning, a steady drip from a faucet keeping him or her from catching the Z’s they need. It’s often played for laughs, but a leak is no laughing matter—and it can actually be dangerous, not just to your home but to your health.
Of course, leaks don’t often play out like a scene from the movies; they can be much less obvious. So, aside from obvious signs like an overflowing toilet or a slow-draining sink, how can you tell if you’re dealing with a leak? Here are six surefire ways.
Six Signs of a Water Leak in Your Home
1. Unusually High Water Bill
Water bills normally remain consistent, with no more than a $10-$15 variance from month-to-month. So, unless you’re hosting house guests leading to increased water consumption, or maybe filling up a large pool in May, a spike in your water bill is a good indicator of a leak in your home.
2. The Sound of Running Water
If you’re hearing water running, your first step should be to check your faucets, toilet valves, and outdoor spigots. If everything if status quo, take an exact reading of your water meter and don’t use the water for a few hours. Then, take another meter reading. If there has been no change, that means water is not running (and maybe it’s time to have your hearing checked!). If the reading has changed, however, this indicates that water is indeed flowing and you most likely have a leak.
3. Wet or Damp Floors
You’re walking across your carpet and suddenly squish—your sock is soaked! The dog doesn’t look guilty and your child swears they didn’t spill anything. That means you’re likely looking at sewer leakage. Now, it’s easy to just soak it up with a towel and call it a day; however, this won’t stop the leak. Ignoring the problem allows moisture to build up, ultimately causing mold or mildew. Not only is this smelly, it can be very toxic and harmful to children, the elderly, pets, and those with weak immune systems. Don’t risk the health of your home and your family—call in a professional to take care of the problem.
4. Foul Odors
If there’s an unpleasant smell in your home and you can’t locate the source, don’t just light a candle or spray some Febreze. Funky smells are often due to mold and mildew, which spread fast under ideal conditions (optimal temperature and level of humidity). Growth begins within about 24-48 hours, and spores start to colonize in 3-12 days, becoming visible to the eye within about 18 days. If you think the odor is leak-related, get a plumber out as soon as possible to mitigate damage from rapid fungi growth (and rid your home of the foul odor).
5. Overgrowth in the Lawn
Unless you didn’t fertilize your lawn evenly, a lush patch of grass in a select area of your lawn, or concentrated wet spots, indicate pipe leakage which is acting as a fertilizer. Left untreated, hazardous bacteria in the underground waste will quickly turn into a messy situation, going from lush growth to lawn destruction.
6. Wall Cracks
Over time, even the littlest of leaks can cause cracks in the foundation of your home and compromise the entire structure. How does it happen? The leak continues hammering away at the same spot in the ground beneath your home, eventually causing it to shift slightly. Now, you’d never feel this shift, but your walls will. This can be a very dangerous situation, so if you’re seeing vertical or diagonal cracking in your walls it’s best to call a plumber right away.
Are you experiencing any of the six signs of a water leak? Don’t wait until further damage is done. Remember, this isn’t just about your house, but your health! Get to the root of the problem right away by contacting a Sacramento professional as soon as possible.