water leak

How to Find a Water Leak inside a Wall

How to Find a Water Leak inside a Wall

It’s always smart to be vigilant when it comes to safeguarding your home. Whether you’re protecting your home against pests, fires, or a possible water leak, keeping a close eye on things is always key.

Water leaks, in particular, can be hard to deal with because they can be difficult to detect. You may not even be aware that something is wrong until lasting damage is already in your home. By that point, you may already have hefty repair or renovation bills in your future.

Don’t allow water damage to remain undetected for an extended period of time. Act right away so that you can protect your home more effectively.

Learn more about the causes, effects, and signs of water leakage in your walls by reading on. You can also pick up some valuable tips for detecting water leaks by continuing with this article.

The Causes of Water Leakage in Your Walls

Leaks don’t spring up in your walls spontaneously. There are legitimate reasons why those leaks emerged.

You can address some of the causes behind water leaks beforehand to prevent them from becoming a real problem, while others may remain undetected until they start causing issues.

Natural Wear and Tear

Houses age and the same goes for the components inside them. That means that your plumbing system also gradually weakens as the months and years go by.

It’s hard to do anything about that. You can invest in better plumbing materials while construction is taking place or have your pipes regularly inspected, but time will still eventually catch up to them.

Hopefully, though, you won’t need to deal with your pipes leaking due to wear and tear anytime in the near future.

Too Much Frozen Water in Your Pipes

There’s a reason home repair experts recommend checking your heating unit and insulating your pipes ahead of the winter season. The freezing temperatures that become the norm during that time of the year can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, with the pipes becoming particularly vulnerable.

Water that flows into your pipes during the winter is likely to freeze. Once that happens, the ice may prove too much to hold for your pipes. That, in turn, could cause cracks to form.

Clogging in the Pipes

Over the course of many months, all kinds of debris may fall into your pipes. Smaller leaves and twigs are the most common culprits.

Most of the time, those small items will pass through your pipes with no issue. In some cases, though, they may get stuck in your pipes causing clogs to form.

A blockage can lead to the water accumulating in one spot and increased pressure on the pipes. Like with excess ice, high water pressure can also cause cracks.

Water Pressure Is Set Too High

Clogging is not the only reason your water pressure may increase. While power-washing a part of your home, you may have turned up the water pressure. You may have also forgotten to turn it back to normal once you finish.

Consistently subjecting your pipes to high water pressure will quickly lead to them sustaining lasting damage. Make sure to check on your water pressure regularly to be safe.

Repairs Were Not Carried Out Properly

One more reason your pipes are leaking could simply be because they were not handled properly before. If you entrusted your plumbing repairs to inexperienced workers, leaks are more likely to show up in the future.

Whenever the need for repairs pops up, it’s always wise to call on the experienced professionals for help. Along with addressing the current plumbing issue, they can also prevent other ones from emerging.

The Effects of Water Leaking Inside Your Walls

You probably already know that water damage is bad news for your walls, but are you aware of how damaging it can be? Water damage can do more than make your home uncomfortable. It can also have lasting effects that impact your bank account.

Your Home’s Structural Integrity May Be Compromised

Arguably the most concerning side effect of water leakage is the damage that it can do the structural integrity of your home. Beyond changing the appearance of your walls, prolonged exposure to moisture can also affect the raw materials used to construct your home.

Wooden panels used in your walls may soon rot due to the water and metal components present, and they may succumb to corrosion. The deterioration of those materials could lead to bigger problems emerging in the future.

You may need to replace sections of your home’s walls. If the deterioration is particularly bad, complete renovation may be required.

Mold and Mildew May Start to Grow

Certain fungi thrive in moist locations, with mold and mildew being among the most common examples. The problem with having mold and mildew growing in your walls is that they can be damaging in more ways than one.

Their continued growth could damage certain portions of your wall. On top of that, they can cause health issues too.

Pests May Start to Invade Your Home

Mold and mildew are not the only intruders you need to worry about if your pipes are leaking. Pests love moist environments, and they could flock to your home.

Cockroaches, mosquitoes, and termites are only some examples of pests that are quite fond of moist environments. By not checking for potential leaks, you could effectively turn your home into an environment that is more accommodating to pests.

You May Need to Pay Bigger Utility Bills

Water leakage can also lead to you paying higher utility bills.

Apart from paying for water that is only going to waste, you may also pay higher electric or gas bills because your home’s temperature regulation is off. Over time, those bills can pile up and make a big dent in your bank account.

Your Home’s Value May Suffer

Let’s say that after inspecting the damage the water leak has done to your home, you figure that it’s best to cut your losses and sell your home now, instead of paying for costly repairs.

The problem there is you may have to sell at a loss. Even in a best-case scenario, you may not make much of a profit from selling your home if it has sustained significant water damage.

The Signs of Water Leakage inside Your Walls

Now that you know more about how damaging water leakage can be, it’s time for you to act and protect your home more effectively. You can start by looking out for the signs of water leakage.

Listed below are some of the most prominent signs.

Your Walls Look Different

The easiest way to tell if you have a water leak inside your walls is to look at them. The appearance of the wall will change if it’s affected by a leak.

Some things to look for include discoloration. Paint or wallpaper applied to a wall may start to warp and change due to the water. Bubbles and tears may also start to form on the surface on the wall if there’s a leak present.

Puddles of Water Are Forming near Your Walls

Aside from looking at your walls, you can also detect a water leak by shifting your focus downward. Puddles of water tend to form near walls with leaks.

You may need to pull up the carpeting to get a better look at where the puddles are forming.

You Can Hear Dripping Sounds Inside Your Home

While enjoying a quiet afternoon at home, you may find yourself disturbed by dripping sounds. After checking the faucets and the shower, you may come up with nothing and assume that you were imagining things.

The reason why you were unable to spot anything could be that you weren’t looking in the right places. Leaks could be why you’re hearing those dripping sounds. The water may already be squeezing out of your pipes and dripping through your walls.

Unusual Odors

You already know that mold and mildew may start to grow in your home due to water leakage. Mold and mildew can make its presence felt by changing the appearance of your walls and releasing a distinct odor.

The odor smells musty, and it’s hard to miss.

Unusually High Utility Bills

As noted earlier, your utility bills may become more expensive if you have a leak because water is being wasted constantly and requires more energy to make your home comfortable.

If you notice your bills spike, you may need to check for leaks.

water leak in living room

How to Detect Water Leaks in Your Home

Looking for the signs of a water leak is one thing. Pinpointing the reason behind a leak is a different matter altogether.

Depending on what is causing the leak, finding it can prove to be a challenge. The following tips can make things easier for you, however.

Perform a Test to Determine the Nature of the Leak

Leaks can sometimes be by entryways leading into your home such as overloaded gutters and downspouts, or there could be broken pipes buried in the ground. It’s also possible that the leak is your indoor plumbing.

To help you figure things out, you can perform a relatively simple test.

Start by turning off the water sources inside your home. Next, look at your water meter and write down the number shown.

After taking note of the number, wait for three hours, go back to your water meter and check if the number still matches what you wrote down. If the number has changed, you may have a problem with your indoor plumbing system.

Make Use of Gadgets

Finding out the nature of the leak doesn’t mean that you will pinpoint its origin right away. If you want to get a better idea of where the water is coming from, you may need to enlist the help of some gadgets.

Thermal cameras and moisture meters are particularly helpful.

Remove a Portion of Your Wall

Probably the most direct way to look for a leak in your walls involves removing a portion of it. Take a portion of the drywall out and take a look behind it to see if there’s a leak.

Using this method of leak detection does come with some risks, though.

Even if you’ve noticed that a particular section of your wall is discolored, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the water leak is directly behind it. Water may be trickling down to that spot from a different location. Plus, going with this method also means intentionally damaging your walls.

Only turn to this method of detection if the water leak has gotten worse.

How to Repair Water Leaks

More often than not, addressing a water leak will take a good amount of work. Sure, you can try and flush your pipes or remove foreign objects lodged in them manually, but those are preventative measures.

Using caulking and sealants will allow you to patch up the cracks, but that may not be good enough if the pipes are too weak.

The reality is that repairing broken pipes is no easy feat. Basic home repair experience may not be enough if you’re trying to fix or replace broken pipes.

In that scenario, the best thing you can do is to contact the professionals and ask them to take on the work for you.

Some homeowners are understandably hesitant to call on others to handle repairs, but their labor is more than worth it. The relatively small payment you make now can lead to huge savings in the future.

Folks in need of urgent home repair can get in touch with Best San Diego Leak Detection right now to have their problems expertly addressed.

April 28, 2020 Categories:
water heater leaking

What to Do if You Notice Your Water Heater Leaking

What to Do if You Notice Your Water Heater Leaking

The water heater leaking is one of those potential problems many homeowners don’t think about often.

Since the water heater is often located somewhere in the home that people rarely frequent, many of us tend to fall into that “out of sight, out of mind” trap. We only become aware there’s a problem with the water heater when it becomes painfully obvious that something’s wrong.

At that point, it may already be too late to prevent serious damage from being done to your home.

We don’t want homeowners to constantly have issues with the water heaters they have. This article will shine a brighter light on that oft-used appliance and also discuss the things you can do to ensure that it doesn’t become a source of problems.

water heater leak

The Reasons Why Your Water Heater Is Leaking

Let’s first focus on why water heaters tend to leak. This probably won’t surprise you, but there are reasons why water heaters spring a leak.

Gradual Aging

Just like any other piece of equipment inside your home, water heaters are susceptible to the deteriorating effects of aging. Compared to many of the other appliances you use, though, these water heaters can be quite durable.

They can continuously function with no issue for up to ten years, and that’s true even if you barely do anything to maintain them.

Still, ten years can fly by in a hurry, and you may lose track of how old your heater is. Should this appliance start to malfunction, it may be worth your time to check out its receipt and see exactly when you purchased it. That may offer some insight into why it’s acting up.

The Hot and Cold Inlets and Outlets

Because of where they are on the water heater, the hot and cold inlets and outlets are more susceptible to damage compared to its other components. Check on these if you’ve noticed that your heater is starting to leak.

 The Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

There are several reasons why your water heater’s temperature and pressure relief valve could be causing the leak.

If the valve deals with too much pressure, it could start malfunctioning. The problem could also stem from the water heater raising the water’s temperature excessively. That can lead to damage to the temperature and pressure relief valve.

The Drain Valve

Since they designed the drain valve to get rid of any sediment that makes its way into the water heater, you should expect it to drip at least a little. However, there’s a significant difference between regular dripping and a full-blown leak. Make sure that the drain valve is not releasing any more than it should because that could grow into a real problem sooner rather than later.

The Water Tank

Consider it a big problem if the reason your water heater is leaking is because of the tank itself. You cannot resolve that quickly, and it may take a lot of money to address. The only real upside here is that you will know right away if there’s something wrong with the water tank because you’ll be seeing flooding instead of only leaking.

The Telltale Signs That Your Water Heater Is About to Leak

Unless your tank has a big hole in it, chances are you won’t notice there’s a leak right away. Inspecting your water heater now and then is a wise move, but the vast majority of homeowners don’t do that often enough.

The good news is that you don’t need to perform a thorough inspection of your water heater regularly to find out that it’s broken. You can keep an eye out for some of the symptoms of a broken water heater that we note below.

The Water Quality Has Changed

A lot of people prefer taking hot water showers in the morning. Some are capable of tolerating freezing cold water hitting their body that early, but others cannot handle it.

Now, you don’t necessarily need to worry about cold water raining down on you if your water heater is leaking, but you may notice that the water coming out is lukewarm instead of hot.

There’s a tendency to shrug off this anomaly and think of it as a byproduct of a colder than usual morning, but it could be an indicator that your water heater isn’t working correctly.

You can also get a hint of how well your heater is working by checking out if the water has rust particles in it. This is an issue you may have detected already because some of the clothes you’re washing suddenly have rust marks on them.

To check if there is rust in the water, you can pour some into a clear glass and see how the liquid looks. While you shouldn’t do it intentionally, you may also notice the rusty water while showering as some droplets get near your face due to the unusual smell and taste.

Rusty water is a sign that rust is starting to accumulate inside your water heater. It may not be leaking yet, but it could happen shortly.

The Exterior of the Water Heater Looks Rusty

Speaking of rust, you don’t need to detect it in the water to know that your heater could have problems sometime in the near future. You can also take a look at the exterior heater and see if rust has started to accumulate on it.

Rust showing up on the tank is a pretty good sign that there is a leak somewhere. Take the time to look at the burner units, too; they are similarly prone to rust.

The Water Heater Is Producing Noticeable Noise

Sediment piling up inside the water heater is inevitable. For a long time, that sediment will not make its presence known. Eventually, though, the sediment will harden and start to cause some noise whenever the water heater is in action.

If you’re trying to figure out if there’s something wrong with the heater, listening to it could work.

Puddles of Water Are Forming around the Water Heater

This is an obvious thing, but yes, if you’re starting to notice there are puddles of water forming around the heater, you should take that as a sign there’s a leak.

More often than not, the puddle of water indicating the leak will be directly under the heater.

How to Fix a Broken Water Heater

You now recognize the symptoms and can determine your water heater is leaking. So, what should you do next?

Here are some tips for how you should go about addressing the problem of your leaking water heater.

Detect Precisely Where the Leak Is

Even if you already know that the water heater is leaking, it’s important to remember that you cannot fix all leaks the same way.  As we noted above, the leak could be due to faulty connections, valves, or even the tank itself.

Before you implement any repairs, focus first on detecting the leak.

See where the water accumulates, clean it up, then check again the following day to see if more water is there. That should tell you where a potential tank leak is.

As for the valves, nothing beats a close inspection to see if they are all sealed or causing water to drip out.

Turn Off the Power and Drain the Tank

Once you’ve determined that there is a leak and you’ve found where it is, go ahead and shut off your water heater.

You should shut electric water heaters down by using the circuit breaker box. Find the breaker that goes to your water and shut it off. You need to be thorough because you never want to be in a position where you could be standing in water while some electricity is still flowing through the wiring.

Gas heaters are easier to turn off because flicking the switch will do.

Once you’ve managed to completely shut down the water heater, you can proceed to drain the tank. Use either a hose or container to catch the water to keep your basement floor from turning into a riverbed.

Close Off the Water Supply

With the tank now empty, you can get to work on closing the water supply.

Look for the cold water shut off valve first. As long as you’re certain you can reach that valve safely, you can turn it off yourself. Doing that should be enough to prevent more water from pouring into the heater.

If the heater’s cold water shut off valve is located in a difficult spot, you can target your home’s main water valve instead.

Address the Problem Areas

It’s now time for the actual repairs, and they can range from being rather simple to remarkably complicated.

If the issue is related to cold and hot water inlets and outlets, you could resolve the problem yourself.

Check out the connections and see if there are any spots where they are loose. Bust out your wrench and tighten them. Doing that should be enough to get rid of your leaking issue.

Things won’t be quite as easy if the issues plaguing your water heater are related to the valves. There may be something off with the water pressure, but the issue could also be a broken valve.

In that case, you will need to replace the valve.

You could try to do that yourself, but if you lack the experience, you may end up making things worse. This is the point where you should strongly consider reaching out to the skilled and experienced professionals who handle these repairs all the time.

Lastly, if the tank itself already has a sizable hole in it, repairs may no longer work. You may need to invest in a replacement water heater at that point.

water heater

How to Maintain Your Water Heater

Regardless of whether you decided to repair your water heater or replace it completely, it’s in your best interest to maintain it better moving forward.

Thankfully, proper water heater maintenance is not a demanding task.

One thing you should always do is to keep an eye on the anode or sacrificial rod. This component of the water heater is responsible for gathering any debris inside the tank. Check on that semi-regularly to see if it still works properly.

You will probably need to replace it after two to three years.

Flushing the water tank of the heater is also something you should do if you want to prolong the life of this appliance. The process of flushing the tank is simple enough. Do it once per year to keep your water heater in good shape.

The Benefits of Maintaining Your Water Heater

Aside from prolonging the life of your water heater, maintenance is also important because it allows the appliance to work more efficiently. You’re getting more for your money if you take the time to maintain the appliance.

Taking the effort to maintain your water heater can save your home basement from damage.

The thing about the damages that stem from leakage is it isn’t always visible right away. By the time you start to notice, it may be too late, and you could find yourself on the hook for a hefty repair bill.

Invest your time in maintenance to avoid making that unnecessary payment.

Call the Professionals to Fix Your Water Heater Problems Properly

Fixing the water heater, yourself is worth trying, but if the repairs get a bit too technical, seeking some assistance may be necessary. Get in touch with the plumbing professionals at Best San Diego Leak Detection to have all your water heater problems addressed promptly and properly. You can also reach out if you have other plumbing-related issues you want them to address.

February 26, 2020 Categories:

Contact Us

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.