Leaking pipes are a headache, but something even worse than that is pipe leaks that lurk in the dark and go undetected — a hidden plumbing leak.
A leaky pipe installed in inaccessible places like under the floor or behind walls is difficult to spot. You’ll need a sharp eye and good presence of mind to a pipe leak and identify a leak in the plumbing.
If a leaky pipe is left unnoticed, it can cause considerable damage to your house. Water dripping rots your wooden structures and significantly increases your bill.
So, leaky pipes must be repaired immediately, or you will get damaged walls. However, if you are a newbie homeowner and don’t know much about plumbing, you’ve landed at the right place to discover more about your hidden leak.
We’ll suggest quick and easy tips to spot hidden water leaks and tell you about some ways to fix them in our informational guide. Let’s get started, shall we?
Signs Of A Hidden Leak In Your Bathroom
Prevention of a hidden leak is better than cure. Even if everything seems fine, habitually check the ceiling in the room directly beneath another landing, all your basins and cabinets to spot the signs of damage. There can be water coming from a pipe directly underneath the floor.
Also, it can save a lot of money on repairs, so let’s talk about typical signs of a hidden leak.
1. Low Water Pressure
Observe the water pressure of your faucet. Issues sometimes cause low pressure on the main supply, but that is short. If you are facing difficulty with the water pressure, and water is drizzling instead of coming out in full flow, then it is likely that there’s a water supply line leak.
Pressure decreases if water gets diverted to another place before reaching the fixture. This is the most obvious sign of a plumbing failure.
2. An Unreasonable Increase In Your Water Bill
Everyone develops a rough estimation of their monthly water bill over time. It is generally higher during hot weather and lowers during winters. If you are mindful of your water usage but still observe a sharp increase in the figures, it’s a sign of leakage.
A little water damage, trickling and drizzling, doesn’t seem significant initially, but it can crunch up the numbers and register high water bills over an extended period. Additionally, you don’t know the size of the damage; it might be more extensive than expected and could cause significant wastage of water.
3. Damaged Walls And Warped Floor
Persistent water leakage causes damage to the house, so look out for unusual water spots, chipping plaster, water stains, warped walls or damaged paint, blistering paint or paint flakes in the bathroom. Also, pay special attention to the corners and ceilings as they might warp or sag due to a leakage in the overhead pipes.
Be sure to check the bathroom floor regularly. Warped flooring is an obvious sign of underlying leakage, but it can be difficult to notice if the floor is wet. We suggest planting your foot firmly and pressing the tile; you must call a professional plumber if it sags.
4. Mould And Mildew Spots
Fungi, mould, and mildew require only a little moisture to grow and thrive. Fungi set down their roots when a surface is damp, typically hidden in a wall, under the flooring, or in dark areas, for twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
Luckily, the mould colonies have characteristic smells and distinctive colours and are relatively easier to detect. However, these minor mildew and mould spots are gruesome and unhygienic.
Make it your priority to treat them on time before they decay further around your walls. A diluted bleach solution is an effective cure for it.
5. An Unexplained Odour
Trickling water with the fungus odour releases a musty and stale smell. Be attentive to such unusual smells because they are the best symptoms of unseen stagnant water.
Typically stagnated water smells odd, like rotting organic matter because of hydrogen sulphide production. It can also lead to brooding larvae and houseflies.
6. Water Meter
The most reliable method to detect a leak is monitoring the water meter. This method can be a little cumbersome but is effective regardless.
First, turn off all the water outlets, faucets, and appliances. Double-check that devices like washing machines, dishwashers, and water purifiers are correctly switched off.
Then go out and check the water meter. You have a fast-leaking crack if you notice any change immediately.
If there’s no visible change, remember the usage level and check back after one or two hours, keeping the water supply off. This will help you detect a slow-moving leak.
How To Fix A Hidden Water Leak Inside A Wall
We’re done with the first half of the article. Once you master these simple techniques, you can detect hidden leakages from your bathroom leak to kitchen leak and other fixtures. Let’s discuss fixing the inaccessible pipes yourself instead of calling a plumber.
But working out a hidden leak is no child’s play as it requires some skills; you can follow our step-by-step guide to have a rough idea of the process and ensure the leak is fixed properly. Do not take up the task alone if you are a newbie.
1. Cut Out The Wall Section
Once you have correctly tracked down the exact location of the leakage, proceed ahead and cut out a section in that spot. You’ll have to use a saw or a knife to open a hole in the wall.
Do it carefully to access the pipe, and make a section of reasonable size; however, avoid making it unnecessarily big. It will be easier to fix the tube, but you’ll have issues sealing the wall.
2. Detect The Crack
Sometimes the leak is so minuscule that it isn’t visible at first glance, so search for it attentively. If you aren’t able to see it, then don’t worry. We have a simple trick to detect the leakage quickly.
Wrap a paper towel or sheet around the tube and swipe it slowly along the length. The sheet will become wet at the leaking spot.
3. Chop The Pipe And Prep It
To cut the pipe conveniently, you’ll need a professional pipe cutter. Before doing that, place a container below the pipe to collect the spilling water.
Tighten the tool around the tube, right below the leaky spot, and keep rotating until you have a cleanly cut section. Also, make sure to repeat the process above the crack.
Furthermore, clean and dry the section properly, ensuring it is free from obstructions.
4. Mount A Repair Sleeve
A copper repair sleeve can’t be directly mounted on a pipe, so you’ll have to heat one end of the sleeve using a blowtorch. Let the soldered part melt down nicely and fit it with the pipe, sealing the joint.
Wait for another ten minutes, giving it sufficient time to cool before following the same procedure for the upper end. Once done, double-check the leak; when satisfied, you can fix the wall.
You must take proper preventive measures while using the blowtorch and work cautiously. Hence, don’t forget to wear safety gloves and goggles.
5. Patch Up The Wall
The major part has been done, and sealing the wall is just an aftermath of the task. Cover the section using leftover timber from the construction with wooden walls, or use brick, concrete, and plaster.
It seems so far-fetched, right? All this hassle for a small leakage? So, it is far better to install a durable plumbing system, to begin with, while conducting pipe checks annually to keep troubles at bay.
Detecting A Hidden Water Leak In Your Bathroom
Hidden leaking pipes can be troublesome and demand immediate attention.
Good for you that we covered all the essential information required to deal with hidden leaks in our brief yet informative guide. Are you now feeling confident enough to tackle plumbing issues on your own? Pat yourself back if the answer is yes.
However, don’t worry if you are still feeling lost about it. Try going through the guide again and refer to some other articles.
But remember that it is a tedious task, and you might accidentally damage the pipe further. Hence, we’ll again recommend calling for professional help from a trained plumber as soon as you find a leakage. Your professional help can efficiently identify hidden plumbing leaks. With their eye for signs and the latest technology like CCTV drain cameras and leak detection devices, it’ll be easy to determine a musty smell, water leak, sagging ceiling, peeling paint, when water accumulates in specific areas, damaged flooring and more. And before your place becomes a perfect breeding ground for moulds and bacteria, your hidden leak can be fixed.
We hope our tips and tricks will help you in the long run, so we’ll sign off. See you next time with another handy little guide on other important topics.
Goodbye and happy plumbing!