5 Early Signs of Leaky Pipes Behind Your Walls
Photo By MD Grafik at Shutterstock
Some signs of a leaking pipe are pretty apparent – you’re standing in a puddle, looking at the water gushing out. Others, however, are much more subtle and often go undetected by homeowners until they turn into a plumbing emergency or there’s a need for an expensive repair from bluefrog Plumbing + Drain water leak repair service. Our guide can help you know what to look for in your walls, from the roof to the basement, and give you time to schedule a water leak repair service while the problem is small.
What Causes Water Leaks?
Plumbing pipes are hidden in the walls on purpose, to protect the pipes and for aesthetic purposes. However, this means that getting to them is difficult. Pipes are generally protected from punctures or breakage, but like anything else in your home, can wear out over time. Certain kinds of pipe material, like galvanized steel, coated lead, or copper, can become subject to corrosion, leading to weaker spots that turn into leaks. Other times, the joining between the pipes themselves, especially around corners or curved pipes, can weaken and cause leaks.
Weak plumbing underneath a slab, for example, may be unable to withstand the weight of the concrete over time and can suddenly burst. Or, winter elements, like freezing pipes, can weaken the sales and lead to leaks. Hard water is another risk factor for pipe damage, as certain minerals in the water can build up in the pipes, hastening corrosion.
Mold or Mildew
Mold and mildew grow best in a damp, warm environment – and one of the most ideal places for this to start is in between walls when there’s a slow leak in pipes. Mildew and mold, once established, can grow rapidly, causing damage to the walls, ceilings, and even the studs of the home. In addition to the damage to the house, excessive mold and mildew can have negative effects on the health of family members or pets living in the home – and black mold, especially, can be toxic.
Fortunately, mold and mildew are some of the easiest things to find in the house. If you notice a musty smell or a smell of wet newspapers in one or more rooms of your house, then you almost definitely have a water leak and need an expert to fix it.
Stains on the Walls
A yellowish or rust-colored stain on your wall or ceiling indicates water stains. You may have a pipe leaking in the walls, and trickling water down along the sheetrock. Or you may have pipes leaking in the ceiling, which can become dangerous if not attended to immediately. When you’re looking around your home for possible leak damage, pay close attention to the corners and edges of the walls, as this is where moisture can collect and puddle.
Peeling Paint or Wallpaper
Paint or wallpaper can peel away or flake off if the sheetrock and walls underneath are damaged. Paint and wallpaper glue both are designed to adhere to a clean, dry surface, and when there’s excess moisture in the sheetrock walls, the paint will flake off or the wallpaper will peel away. You may notice this, especially in the bathrooms, as steam from showering can, over time, cause some damage to the wall coverings. But if you notice this in other rooms, it’s definitely a sign you need water leak repair service.
Don’t forget to check your basement, too! Basements, especially unfinished ones, so it may be difficult to determine the difference between “regular basement smell” and the smell of mold or mildew. One thing to look for in the basement foundation cracks. These can start small, in the corners, or near where the pipes are. Use a flashlight if necessary – by the time water damage to the foundation is visible to the naked eye, it could be too late for a quick fix of the pipes, and you may have to have an expensive foundation fix, too. Foundation cracks can occur outside of the home, too, so make it a habit to check the perimeter every six months.
Warping of the Walls or Ceilings
Bowed walls or ceilings are a definite sign of a water leak. These can turn dangerous, fast! If you notice that there’s a bulge in one or more walls or the ceiling, you need water leak repair service immediately. Bowing in the walls or ceiling means that the structure may be waterlogged and therefore unstable. First, ensure that your pipes are fixed, and then hire a general contractor to determine the extent of the damage in your home.
How Does a Plumber Treat Leaks in the Walls?
Because the pipes are inside the walls, plumbers take the utmost care to minimize the damage to the existing structure. However, they will have to access the pipes to find the leaks and fix them. Many good plumbers, like the ones at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, use a laparoscopic camera to find leaks and clogs, running the small camera attached to a filament through the entire piping structure of your home. Then, once they’ve pinpointed the leak, there are a few different options for repair.
Some pipes may simply be worn in places, and in these cases, the plumber may be able to inject coating inside the pipes to reinforce them. Other times, however, the plumbing service may need to cut small holes into the walls, repairing or replacing the pipes and joinings. On rare occasions, you may need a whole-home pipe replacement, a process that typically takes about three days.
Call Your Local bluefrog Plumbing + Drain Today!
bluefrog Plumbing + Drain is a reputable team of plumbers, licensed and bonded, and able to tackle any plumbing problem, big or small. Whether you need an emergency, after-hours fix, or regularly scheduled service, or preventative maintenance, you can depend on us. Our water leak repair service is second to none – and we take pride in getting it right the first time. Give us a call today or visit us online to find a bluefrog Plumbing + Drain near you!