How To Spot a Hidden Home Plumbing Leak

Hidden leaks are a dreaded Denver plumbing issue among homeowners today. As you may have predicted from the name, a hidden leak doesn’t show any glaring signs of a leak. This can make them particularly harmful, as homeowners may not realize that they need repairs until the damage is severe. 

Weak plumbing, frozen pipes, clogged water lines, corrosion, and high water pressure are all possible causes of a hidden plumbing leak. No matter the cause, a leak in your home needs to be addressed promptly to avoid extensive water damage to your home. Left alone, the pipe damage could escalate and may even lead to flooding. 

Below, you’ll find common signs of hidden home plumbing leaks to help you spot a leak before it becomes severe. 

Sign #1: Check For Moldy Walls.

A leak that’s hidden behind the walls of your home can create a moist, humid environment that’s prime for mold growth. So, if you start to notice mold or mildew developing on your walls with no other known cause, you could have a leaky pipe. Don’t forget to check for signs of mold growth under your kitchen and bathroom sinks, too – these areas are common sites for hidden leaks. 

Sign #2: Look For Flooring Damage.

A hidden leak can trigger water damage on your floors as well as your walls. With a hidden leak, flooring can start to warp, sink, and/or sag. Noticeable flooring damage is a sign of a sizable leak and is cause to call your plumbing team ASAP for an inspection. 

Sign #3: Examine Your Water Bill.

Most households have a relatively steady water bill, with only small fluctuations caused by various factors (like guests coming to visit). Keeping a close eye on your water bill for unexplained spikes in your water usage can help you identify hidden leaks. If you currently suspect a hidden leak in your home, assemble your water bills from the last couple of months and see if there’s a consistent increase. If so, it’s worth contacting your Denver plumbers to inspect your home for a leak. 

Sign #4: Review Your Water Meter.

A quick way to identify whether or not your home has a hidden leak is to check the water meter with all of the water shut off in your home. Ensure that no faucets, showers, or appliances that use water, like the dishwasher or washing machine, or on and make sure that any household members refrain from using water while you run this test. 

Head outside to find your water meter, which should be found around the perimeter of your property, often close to the curb in front of your home. The meter is typically placed in a concrete box or under a lid in a small pit in the ground. 

Once you’ve accessed your water meter, take a look at its reading. If the meter is changing with all of the water in your home shut off, you likely have a hidden leak (and a significant one, at that). If the meter doesn’t move right away, keep the water off in your home and check in another hour or two. Slow-moving leaks may take some time to appear on your meter. 

Sign #5: Consider Strange Smells. 

While some instances of mold from a hidden leak aren’t visible, they may be smell-able. Mold has a musty, muddy, and stale odor that you can likely identify, even if it’s coming from behind a wall. A persistent moldy odor is a sign that your home has significant mold growth and is worth investigating. 

Sign #6: Watch For Staining. 

Water leaking within your walls can permeate the drywall and form water stains on your walls. A hidden leak can cause new water stains on your walls that are likely to get bigger as the leak progresses. If you notice this sign of leakage, you’ll need to have a Denver plumber check the pipes behind the wall and repair any leakage.

Sign #7: Keep an Eye on Paint Damage. 

Similar to water stains, paint damage can occur when water from a leaky pipe is absorbed into drywall. This excess moisture can make paint peel, bubble, and blister. Paint damage, especially in a relatively new home, is a sign that something is amiss behind the wall. 

If your Denver home is showing signs of water damage from a hidden leak, reach out to the plumbing pros at Drain Terrier ASAP for trusted repair services.


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