How to Find a Water Leak Inside a Wall

How to Find a Water Leak Inside a Wall

Trying to find a water leak inside your wall is a mystery you’ll hopefully never need to solve. It can be a scary issue to encounter. Since it’s hidden, you may not know or understand the extent of the damage. Or even worse, you may not realize the problem is there at all! Our goal is to educate you on the signs of water leaks and how to locate them. If you’re equipped with this knowledge, Stephens Plumbing can help you stop a water leak before it wreaks havoc in your home.

Look For Signs of a Water Leak

There are some obvious signals of a leak in your wall but others can be tricky to spot. Watch out the following signs of interior wall leaks:

Wet or Discolored Areas

It could be a lot of water, some minor dampness, or stains in the drywall, trim, ceiling, or floor. Never ignore any signs of water damage!

Mold or Mildew in Unusual Places

It’s normal to encounter mold around showers and sinks, but if you’re seeing mold or mildew in strange places (like your hallway or bedroom), something is wrong. Additionally, if you smell must in the air but aren’t sure where it’s coming from, it could be coming from water behind your wall.

Peeling Paint or Wallpaper

You may see wallpaper coming off in places or paint peeling and bubbling on your wall or ceiling. Wetness will cause wallpaper and paint to lose their adherence. 

Warped Ceilings or Floors

When water drips from an interior wall pipe, it can pool up in areas. You may come across warped floorboards and areas where it feels spongy. If the leak is coming from the second floor, you may even see distortion in the first floor ceiling.

Puddles or Drips

Sometimes a leak comes from a hole in the pipe; other times it comes from a pipe burst. This is why you may experience drips or puddles depending on the severity of the leak. 

High Water Bill

If there are no other detectable signs, your only signal may be a high water bill. Pay close attention to your monthly statement. Any spikes could indicate a silent leak behind your walls.

Find the Source of the Leak

Once you’ve encountered one or more signs of a leak within your walls, you’ll need to do some detective work to locate the source:

Read Your Water Meter

Locate your water meter. It will typically be outside of your house and near a curb. Look for a concrete box with a cast-iron lid labeled “water.” Open it with a screwdriver and jot down the number on the display. Then turn the water off and wait 3 hours. When you return, compare the current number on the meter to the one you noted before. If the numbers are different, you have a leak in your plumbing.

Inspect Gutters and Downspouts

If plumbing isn’t the source of your leak, it could be coming from your roof. Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean and undamaged. If your gutters look pristine, you may need to have your roof inspected for holes.

Use a Moisture Meter

If the leak is coming from your plumbing, you’ll need to figure out where. Purchase or rent a moisture meter from your local hardware store. Point it at various walls throughout your home until you find the highest reading. This is likely where your leak is coming from.

Employ an Infrared Camera

If you happen to have an infrared camera, you can also use this to find the source of your wall leak. The camera can detect cold spots in the wall where there is water. Look for blue or purple spots in the screen to find the coldest reading. This will point to the leak’s origin.

Cut into the Drywall

If you don’t have access to the tools listed above, you can cut directly into the drywall. Wherever you see wetness or signs or water damage, you’ll need to make your incision just above it. The leaky pipe is typically higher than the water spot because of the way water travels down. You may need to cut in a few places to locate the broken pipe.

Trust Stephens Plumbing to Fix the Water Leak Inside Your Wall

If you suspect a water leak within your walls, give Stephens Plumbing a call immediately. Not only will we locate and diagnose the leak, but we will fix it up as well. With more than three decades of experience, we are confident that we can put that leak to rest and even repair the water damage it caused. There’s no job too big or scary for the licensed professionals at Stephens Plumbing. Call us to find out more about the plumbing services we offer.