Just the idea of the topic likely makes you cringe: a water leak inside your wall.
It conjures up images of tearing down walls, extensive damage, and unsightly water marks inside your property – not the most aesthetically pleasing sight.
So how do you pinpoint the source of the problem? Read on.
Know the signs
First, you’ll want to look for signs of the leak. As mentioned, water leaks can cause spots of discoloration, but that’s just one sign you may have a problem. Others include mold in areas you normally don’t expect to discover, a wet area, peeling paint or wallpaper, pools of water, dripping sounds, and unusually expensive water bills.
What to do
The first course of action you’ll want to take if you suspect you have a water leak inside a wall is to determine if it’s a plumbing issue. You can do this by turning off all the devices that use water inside your home (think faucets, washing machine, toilet, etc.). Next, write down the water meter reading.
Once you have your reading and the water is off, wait about three hours (minimum) and then re-read your water meter. If the reading has increased, there may be a plumbing leak somewhere. If the reading is the same, there may be a leak somewhere in your roof or walls.
When your reading is the same, you’ll want to check your gutters and downspouts to be sure they are clear of debris. If this does not seem to be the issue, you’ll want to rely on some help from a plumber who can check for leaks around your property’s foundation and foundation walls.
Pinpointing a leak inside a wall
There are some tools that can be used to pinpoint a water leak inside a wall, including a moisture meter. These can be purchased or rented from a hardware store. Point the device at various locations on a wall until you get a spot where the reading is highest. It’s likely nearest to the leak. Professionals often use such devices.
Infrared cameras are also often used by plumbers to spot cold areas in walls. Wet areas are also often the coldest and display as blue or purple.
As a last resort, you may cut into drywall to help discover where a leak is. This is obviously the most invasive tactic and should be avoided if possible as leaks may drip and not be found at their originating location.