Has your water bill been unusually high even though your water usage has remained the same? You may be dealing with water leakage, and the reason you may have not yet noticed is that it’s been happening inside your walls.
If you suspect a water leak inside your wall, it’s time to investigate the source and search for clues you might have missed. After all, signs of water damage in walls are usually subtle, so conducting a thorough inspection is the first step to finding the leak.
Signs of Water Leaks in Walls
Look for the most common signs of water damage in walls first. Typically, these are changes in your property that you can see, feel, and/or smell:
- Damp or discolored drywall
- Peeling paint or wallpaper on your wall
- A warped or stained wall
- A buckle, crack, or water stain on drywall ceiling or your floor
- Pools of water on the floor near walls or drips from the ceiling
- A musty smell
Some of the signs above can also point to the presence of mold, especially in areas where water does not usually accumulate. This is because they’re all indicators of excess moisture, which can generate mold growth. In this case, aside from wet spots and paint peeling away, you could also be susceptible to respiratory issues such as frequent sneezing or a runny nose. So it is imperative to remediate the mold issue before it spreads further and fixes internal plumbing issues before they get bigger.
How To Find Water Leaks in Walls
We’ve touched on the tangible signs like paint bubbling on wall water damage can cause. In any case, if you suspect water leakage inside your walls, there are a few other maintenance checks you can do to confirm the presence of a leak:
Use Your Water Meter
The simplest way to detect a hidden water leak is to double-check your water meter. This device can be located inside or in front of your home. Once you find it, here’s how to check it:
- Read the water meter and record the number shown – this is the measurement of water used by your household in gallons.
- Turn off all faucets, showers, toilets, and appliances that rely on water like dishwashers, sprinklers, and washing machines.
- Avoid using water in your home for at least three hours to ensure the success and accuracy of your results. Also, check if there aren’t leaks from your faucets, toilets, etc.
- Then, reread the water meter. If the number has increased, you have water leakage somewhere in your home.
Get a Moisture Meter
One of the tools that can help you locate leaks inside walls is a moisture meter. This instrument is used to measure the moisture content in materials. A normal reading for drywall, concrete, and other masonry components would be less than one percent.
You can choose between two types: the pin-type for checking moisture levels for smaller, more precise spots and the pinless ones for scanning larger areas. You can find this device in your nearest home improvement store at varying costs.
However, it may also require time and effort to make this tool work. Professionals also usually carry both types (pin-type and pinless) to quickly find pockets of moisture in large areas while pinpointing the exact depth at which they occur.
Use an Infrared Camera
If you cannot see the more obvious signs like paint bubbling on the wall water damage can be difficult to confirm. An infrared camera offers a quick and non-intrusive solution to detect a water leak in your wall.
Technically, this tool cannot tell you exactly what’s behind your wall. But it can detect heat coming from your wall and reveal the range of temperatures it senses using different colors. The camera comes in handy in diagnosing water leakage behind walls since it displays blue or purple to determine the wettest or coldest spots.
Cut Into Your Drywall
The options mentioned so far do not involve tearing your wall down. Cutting into your drywall is a little more invasive and should only be used as a last resort or when other methods have not been successful. With this method, you can see for yourself what’s going on behind your walls. However, the location of a water stain on drywall may not be the same as the location of the leak source. So aim to precisely locate the cause before making a drastic move to avoid cutting into the wrong place.
Causes of Water Leak in Walls
After searching for signs of water damage in walls, you still need to identify the cause and locate the leak source. To do this, you can start by inspecting your internal plumbing system and exterior materials such as caulking, flashing, sprinklers, and downspouts:
Interior Plumbing Issues
If you see a slight increase in your water meter reading, chances are you may have faulty plumbing in your house. Leaks happen when pipes become worn in some places or the joining in between pipes become weak. These require immediate attention, especially if you’re dealing with a pipe leaking through the ceiling, which can be dangerous.
Exterior Material Failures
If you can’t find the root cause of the problem inside your house, go outside and inspect your exterior materials. Exterior materials can be classified as above-grade or below-grade, referring to their position relative to the ground.
- Exterior above-grade issues may include clogged gutters and downspouts, ineffective caulking, and deteriorating flashing. Check these areas for leaks and address the issues found immediately.
- Exterior below-grade problems can range from damaged sprinkler pipes, improper drainage from downspouts, or french drains or grading that slopes toward the house (The Spruce, 2021). These affect walls built below grade like your basement, so make sure to inspect them regularly for issues.
Say Goodbye to Leaks
When you see various signs of hidden leaks like a water stain on drywall and paint bubbling on wall water damage is imminent. A wall leak can wreak havoc on your home and cause extensive water damage if left unchecked. So while you can locate the leak and its source by yourself, you can save time, effort, and money on your water bill by calling in the experts.
The right water damage restoration company provides an in-depth assessment of your problem and explains the most suitable solution to homeowners. This includes locating the leak inside your wall, identifying the leak source, and repairing or replacing the broken parts – preventing further damage while getting everything back to normal as soon as possible.
Say goodbye to leaks and their dangers ASAP when you partner with trusted water damage restoration professionals.