What are the Signs of Leaking Water?
Leaking Water at your home or business is obviously a concern and could cause damage to your property. But also it’s something you can be on the lookout for. What are the top 10 signs of leaking water at your property that might help you prevent water leaks doing too much damage at your home or business?
Leaking Water Signs – Number 1 to 10….
Remember, people automatically think of pipe leaks when thinking about leaking water. Clearly they are a common place for leaks but often leaks come form other places and can affect many different rooms in the house from lofts to flooded basements.
If you have any of these things, get in touch to discuss with us. If you have several of these things, then it’s even more likely that you have leaking water in your home.
Here is what to look out for….
1 – Visible Signs of Damp, Moisture or Water
Water is found in sinks, baths, toilets etc. It also travels around your house under floors, walls and ceilings. Importantly, contained within pipes, including waste pipes. Water that has escaped these sources (that’s why insurance companies call it an ‘Escape of Water’) can cause damage to your property, and can have health and hygiene risks.
If you visibly spot water or damp in places you would not expect it, that can be a sign of leaking water or water ingress. Pools of water is definitely a warning sign, especially if accompanied by drips (e.g. from ceiling) and also if you know there is a water source passing through the affected area – water going to and from bathrooms, radiator leaks etc. We have a separate article on damp causes and another on when you get a shower leaking through ceiling.
One thing to watch out for is on properties which have shared party walls, floors or ceilings with neighbours around you. Sometimes signs from leaks can come from your neighbour having leaking water, not from your own property. Watch out for that.
Don’t ignore leaking water, if you think you have a leak, contact us today.
2 – The Sound of Running Water
We sometimes get calls from people saying something like “I can hear running water between my walls” but cannot see it. Clearly this is not normal and should be investigated. Normally to actually hear a water leak, it will be a significant leak and so more water will be leaking vs say a drip, which you are less likely to hear. That said, we do get people saying they can hear drips too!
We use acoustic water leak detectors to help find water leaks in properties.
Often with leaks of this size, other things will occur, especially (1), (3), (4) & (9).
3 – Boiler / Central Heating Losing Pressure
This is a very common reason people think they have water leaking, especially as boilers will actually give boiler error messages sometimes to tell you about pressure loss.
Clearly this is doubly frustrating for people as not only could it mean you have a leak but also it can mean your central heating does not work from dropping pressure. As you might expect, this is more common in the winter months but can occur any time.
We have a more detailed guide to Boiler Pressure Dropping for more on this.
4 – Increased Water Usage / Water Bill
For those people on a meter, this can be something that alerts them to the fact that they might have a water leak. In fact, some water companies alert their customers of this fact. So if you get an unexpectedly high water bill and think you have leaking water, call us.
It’s likely your water bill will show you how much more water you have used and you can work out the cost too. Our Water Leak Cost Calculator can help too.
One of the things to check, if you have a water meter, is to see if the meter is moving even though all your taps and appliances are off. This can signify leaking water.
We have a useful guide to who is responsible for a water leak and, if needed how to report a water leak to your water company – here
This can be more common when in situations of swimming pool leak detection.
5 – High Humidity & Condensation
This is a slightly more tricky thing to look out for as humidity in houses and condensation can vary a lot from room to room and time of year. As you would expect, if you are in a bathroom in winter after a bath or shower, humidity and condensation in bathrooms are likely to be higher.
However, if you are seeing more condensation or experiencing higher than normal humidity, such as higher than normal condensation on windows, then our advice would be to (a) look to see if you have anything else on this list and (b) think about how severe it is. If you think it is a concern get in touch.
6 – Structural Changes
Moisture exists in low levels in your property in materials such as plaster, brick, wood and concrete and. although it might change slightly according to the environment, they are ‘stable’ within normal variances in moisture.
If you have leaking water coming directly or indirectly into contact with these materials, it can affect their integrity structurally. So what are the signs?…
Watch out for significant cracks in walls, ceilings (like with a shower leak in through a ceiling) and floors. Softening or bulging / warping etc of materials. For example, soft spongy floors, bubbling of walls, ceilings, wallpaper etc.
As we have said before, if this is accompanied by other things on this list then they may suggest you have a leaking water in your property.
7 – Strong Musty Odours
Following on from the previous point, water coming into contact with normally drier areas in your property, can cause changes to these materials. It can also cause things like wet rot, mould, bacteria and damp etc. Each of these can cause a distinct ‘musty’ odour.
As you might expect, if the water leak is from waste water both the smell and the health implications are likely to be higher from faecal matter and urine, nobody wants that!
If you can smell damp odours or sewage smells, especially in unusual places then get in touch to discuss this with us. As well as finding your water leak, we can help with sanitisation (to help remove bacteria etc) and odour control to remove smells.
8 – Mould Appearing / Increasing
In order for mould growth in your property, it needs certain environmental conditions to flourish. One of the key things is moisture and / or humidity. As leaking water can elevate both of these, it can cause mould to form or increase vs normal levels.
Mould spores exist in properties ‘waiting’ for the right conditions to grow – a bit like a seed waiting for water and soil. Once it grows, it will release more spores which can cause health risks. This NHS article highlights the possible health risks of mould. In fact it says…
“Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes…”. If you have a mould problem, even if you do not have a leak, please get in touch today to discuss a potential mould survey and mould remediation / removal. This includes black mould.
9 – Low or Reduced Water Pressure
Water pressure and water flow in properties will vary from area to area and house to use. It will also potentially vary in different areas of your house and depend, for example, if water is being used at the same time in your house. We have a useful article on water pressure vs water flow.
That said, sometimes people notice a significant drop in pressure. This can coincide with water leaking at your property, especially if it is persistent.
If you think about it, it is like the example mentioned above where someone is running water elsewhere in your house. As a rule of thumb, the larger the drop in pressure the larger the leak could be as it its drawing water away from other places.
Clearly, that is assuming that it is only in your house and not the area around you – do check with your water company or ask neighbours if they are losing pressure too.
10 – Staining or Bubbling in Walls & Ceilings
This is somewhat similar to (1) and (6) above but can be more subtle. Sometimes water leaking can cause staining on painted walls or marks in materials in your property. It can also cause things such as bubbling or peeling wallpaper too. In some instances this might be a water leak from an upstairs flat.
If you see signs of this at your home or business, it is certainly something to investigate further and especially other things earlier on this list.
As you can see from this list, there’s a lot of potential things that can signify water leaking at your property, and there are more things than the top 10 shown on this list.
The two main things are to be vigilant for the signs of water leaking above and secondly to not ignore water leaks. If in doubt, get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to help.
Your local leak detection specialist will get in touch to discuss your leak problem and discuss the options available to you. You can call us free on 0800 46 47 999 and we will guide you through the process of finding and sorting your water leak.
How do you find a water leak you can’t see?
We use specialist leak detection tools to find water leaks, these are mostly non-destructive which means you can find water leaks that you cannot actually see. This includes leaks in floors, walls, ceilings or underground water leaks.
How do I find a water leak between my house and meter?
The first thing to to is to establish if your water leak is between your house and your meter, we have a step by step way of finding water leaks which can help to narrow down where a water leak is using systems and specialist tools.