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How to Find Water Leaking in the Wall

by Lily Morgen
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Water Leaking in the Wall

Has your water bill been higher than usual? Or have you noticed strange damp spots on your walls or ceilings? You may have a water leak. But don’t worry, finding water leaks in the wall is not as difficult as it may seem. Here are some tips on how to find water leaking in the wall.

Signs of Water Leaks in Walls

Some water leak signs are apparent, while others are not so obvious. Paying attention to both kinds can help you catch a leak before it does serious damage.

Apparent Signs of Water Leaks in Walls

The most obvious sign of a water leak is water itself. If you see water coming from your walls or ceiling, there is definitely a leak. Other apparent signs of water leaks in walls include:

  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Stains on walls or ceilings
  • Cracks in walls or ceilings

These signs are usually easy to spot. If you see any of them, it’s time to take action.

Less Apparent Signs of Water Leaks in Walls

Sometimes, the signs of water leaks in walls are not so obvious. If you don’t see any water or visible damage, pay attention to these less apparent signs:

  • Higher than normal water bills
  • Strange damp spots on walls or ceilings
  • Musty smells coming from walls or ceilings
  • Mold or mildew growth on walls or ceilings

These signs may indicate a water leak, even if you don’t see any water. If you notice any of them, it’s a good idea to check for leaks.

How to Find Water Leaks in Walls

Once you know what to look for, finding water leaks in walls is not difficult. Here are some practical ways on how to find water leaks in walls.

Use a Moisture Meter

A moisture meter will help you pinpoint the location of the leak. Here are the steps to use a moisture meter to find water leaks in walls:

  • Start by examining the wall of your home for any signs of water damage. This could include things like cracks in the foundation or staining on the siding. If you notice any of these, it’s likely that there is a water leak somewhere on that wall.
  • Once you’ve located the suspect wall, use your moisture meter to test for moisture. To do this, simply insert the probes into the drywall at different depths. If the meter readings show that there is indeed moisture present, then you’ve found the leak.
  • Record the number on the moisture meter.
  • Turn off all the water sources inside your home, such as faucets, toilets, showers, as well as any outside faucets or sprinklers.
  • Check the moisture meter again after about 3 hours. If the readings are lower than they were before, then the leak is most likely coming from one of the water sources that you turned off.

Use an Infrared Camera

If you think your home may have a water leak, but you can’t seem to find the source, an infrared camera can be a helpful tool. Infrared cameras can detect small temperature differences on surfaces, which can help you pinpoint the location of a leak.

Here are some steps to use an infrared camera to find water leaks in walls:

  • Make sure the area you’re scanning is dark. Infrared cameras work best in low light conditions.
  • Start by scanning the entire area of the wall where you think the leak may be located. Pay close attention to any areas that look significantly different from the rest of the wall. These areas may be cooler or warmer, which could indicate a water leak.
  • Once you’ve identified a potential leak, use the infrared camera to scan a smaller area around that spot. This will help you narrow down the location of the leak.

Tear Wall Down

If you’re still not sure where the leak is coming from, you may need to tear down a section of the wall to investigate further. This should be a last resort, as it can be costly and time-consuming. But if you’re unable to find the source of the leak any other way, tearing down a section of the wall may be your only option.

  • Start by turning off the water supply to your home. This will prevent any further damage from occurring while you work on repairing the leak.
  • Next, use a hammer or other tool to remove a section of drywall around the area where you believe the leak is located.
  • Once the drywall is removed, inspect the area for any signs of water damage. If you see any wetness or mold, this is likely the source of the leak.
  • If you’re still not sure where the leak is coming from, you may need to remove additional sections of drywall until you find the source.

Water Leak in Walls Reasons

There are many reasons that a water leak in your wall could occur. The most common reasons lie in interior plumbing, exterior below grade issues, and exterior above grade problems.

Interior Plumbing

  1. Water supply lines (pipes that bring water into your home) in the walls could be damaged or have a faulty connection. This is typically the case if you have an older home.
  2. Your fixtures (sinks, toilets, showers, etc.) could be leaking. This is usually due to a faulty seal or gasket.
  3. Your drains could be backing up, which would cause water to come out of the fixtures and leaks in the walls.
  4. You may have a slab leak, which is a leak in the water line that runs beneath your foundation slab. Slab leaks are often caused by corrosion, soil movement, or damage from an earthquake.

Exterior Below Grade

  1. Your home’s foundation could be cracking, allowing water to seep in. This is often caused by settling of the ground around your home or poor drainage.
  2. Your landscaping could be directing water towards your foundation instead of away from it. This is often caused by incorrect grading or lack of gutters.
  3. Your home’s waterproofing could be failing, allowing water to seep through the foundation walls. Waterproofing failures are often caused by improper installation, damage, or age.

Exterior Above Grade

  1. Your roof could be leaking. This is often caused by damaged or missing shingles, improper installation, age, or severe weather.
  2. Your windows could be leaking. This is usually due to improper installation or sealant failures.
  3. Your doors could be leaking. This is typically due to a poor seal around the door or damage to the door itself.
  4. Your gutters could be leaking or overflowing. This is often caused by debris in the gutters, poor installation, or age.

If you suspect that you have a water leak in your wall, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your home.

How to Prevent Future Leaks in Walls

Once you’ve found and repaired the source of the leak, it’s important to take steps to prevent future leaks from occurring. Here are some tips to help you do that:

  • Check all pipes and fittings in your home regularly for any signs of wear or damage. If you notice any cracks or leaks, repair them immediately.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home regularly for any cracks or holes that could allow water to enter. If you find any, seal them up with caulk or another appropriate material.
  • If you have an irrigation system, make sure it’s properly maintained and that the sprinkler heads are not spraying water onto your home’s foundation.
  • Be sure to clean your gutters regularly to prevent them from becoming clogged. Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and seep into your home through the roof or walls.

By taking these steps, hope you can help prevent future water leaks and the damage they can cause.

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