How to spot a water leak - 10 easy ways

Published: 17 Jul 2023 ・ Read time: 7 mins
Water leaks are a significant problem for your home and your wallet, as if spotted too late they can cause major damage to your property and on average substantially add up to £300 on your annual water bill. If you suspect that you have a water leak in your home, it's crucial to find it and fix it as soon as possible. 
The experts at City Plumbing have compiled an essential guide on how to quickly identify water leaks to avoid any unnecessary repairs and charges for a safe and happy home.
There are several ways to help you spot a water leak early; here are 10 of the most common signs to watch out for.

1. Sudden water bill increase

This is considered to be the very earliest indication that you have a leak in your home. If you notice that your water utility bill has unusually increased compared to the previous month, it could be an early sign of a water leak.

2. Musty Smells

If you have a leak that has gone undetected, you may start to notice a damp or musty smell in the air. This is caused when mould and mildew form on hidden surfaces, so if the smell persists, it's essential to investigate further as it can not only pose a health hazard but can be an early detection of a water leak.

3. Wet mouldy spots on walls or ceilings

Often water leaks, no matter how big or small, can provide the perfect environment for mould to grow on walls and ceilings. Mould can develop quickly when spores hit damp walls, which over time, will turn into brown or black patches.
If you start to see an unusual amount of mould patches begin to develop, it could be an early indication of a leak in your property.
Build-up of mould on wall at city plumbing

4. Bubbling paint or wallpaper

Bubbling paint or wallpaper can appear seemingly out of nowhere, which quickly occurs when water collects and pools behind the wall surface which causes the paint to bubble and the wallpaper to stretch. 
Bubbling paint or wallpaper is an evident sign after a water leak, so it's vital to check and take action immediately. 

5. Strange noises coming from pipes

If you start to notice a strange noise coming from your plumbing, it might be a sign of high-pressure build-up as the water will begin to vibrate inside the pipe and create a humming sound. 
This is a lot more common if you have a well for your water, so check the pressure to assure it's below 55 pounds per square inch. A plumber can test the pressure accordingly and adjust the issue for you.
image of a dripping tap at city plumbing

6. Dripping taps

Any excessive water pressure can have an effect on the flow of water in your plumbing. If the pressure gets too extreme, the water won't be able to flow as effectively. This can subsequently cause water to get backed up and eventually start dripping out of your taps.
Do not be fooled, as there are other instances that can also cause a tap to drip so you can quickly identify if you have a leak or not, such as;
  • Corroded rubber seals and O-rings
  • Broken washers
  • Faulty built-in-cartridge
  • Damaged valve set
It is unlikely that you will experience any issues with your tap as they are designed to be incredibly durable, and typically last for a long time without any problems. We offer a wide variety of kitchen taps that feature long-lasting cartridges and stylish designs to enhance your kitchen.

7. Wet spots or puddles

There are several common reasons why water is seeping up through your floor, such as; backed-up drains, clogged gutters and cracked foundations, but one of the main reasons is due to leaking appliances.
They can all cause significant damage to your flooring, providing unnecessary costs for repairs and replacement. 
It is important to remember where the stop-cock is located for the appliance so you can stop the leak from the source or shut the water off entirely using the valve in your property. 

8. Water heater problems

You may not realize it, but having a Water Heater installed in your property could run the risk of having a potential leak. This is because your water heater will naturally create pressure as it raises the water temperature; however, too much pressure will start to cause problems if the excess pressure can't escape the unit properly; the water could begin to leak through any existing cracks.
Most water heaters, such as the Hyco Speedflow range, usually are supplied with a PRV (pressure release valve). Its purpose is to prevent pressure build ups by opening up when the pressure gets too high, and releasing pressure until it drops to a safe level. Once the pressure is within a safe range, the valve closes.

9. Soggy garden grass

The only thing worse than having dry yellow patches is having soggy grass patches in your garden. Unfortunately, These are discovered the hard way when you step into one, so if you discover a wet patch of grass in your back garden, it might be because of an undiscovered leak.
There are four potential causes for this can happen such as,
  • Waterline leak
  • Leaking sprinkler system
  • Leaking septic tank
  • Drainage problem
image of waterlogged garden at city plumbing

10. Flooded basement

If you have a basement or cellar in your home, you should regularly check for any water leaks after a heavy downfall of rain. If you notice water leaking in, it might be a sign there is a problem with the drainage.
Leaks can also happen when the water levels rise through the absorbed water in the soil; it will then cause a buildup of pressure under the foundations, allowing water to seep through any cracks in the floor.
Installing drainage tiles to solve this problem and help prevent any water damage to your property is recommended.
We hope we have helped you feel more confident so you can identify water leaks with confidence.
It's important to remember, if you notice any of these signs, to act quickly and investigate further, as it will allow you to save yourself time and money and be free of headaches. 
If you require further expert advice, then get in touch with our team or contact your local City Plumbing branch, no matter how big or small your enquiry is, we are always here to help.

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