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Understanding the signs of a water leak

An issue can’t be addressed without first knowing that an issue exists, which is particularly true when it comes to water leaks. Because leaks most often happen in areas that aren’t regularly seen (such as behind walls, within ceilings, or underground), knowing that a leak is present can be an issue in itself. Fortunately, there are several tell-tale signs that a water leak is present, without laying eyes on the leak directly. By paying close attention to these signs, it can be possible to help diagnose a leak early on and before it gets too far out of hand.


Signs of a water leak can be spotted in several places within your home. Discolored spots on the ceiling and walls are a prime indicator that there is moisture present behind the plaster, and that there is a solid chance that water is actively leaking within the walls.

bubbles under the paint caused by a water leak in the wall

Another way to identify leaking water within the walls, even without visible spotting, is the sound of dripping water without an identifiable source. After ruling out the faucets and drains, the sound you’re hearing is likely coming from a leak in the interior pipes. If left unaddressed, a water leak within the walls can lead to mold and mildew forming, as well as structural cracks and crevices in the foundation, which are not only a major structural issue but also health and safety hazards.

Damp spots on the floor or carpeting may also appear, indicating a leak in the pipes below. If these spots are accompanied by a foul odor, the likely culprit is a sewer leak — another major health hazard, and an issue that requires an immediate repair before it causes more serious damage.

One often overlooked indicator is actually in the mailbox — a rising water bill. If your water bill appears to be spiking with no obvious explanation, there is a good chance that water is running without cause somewhere in your home.


Signs of a water leak are not limited to the inside of your home; there are also several ways to pick-up on the presence of a leak by walking around your home’s exterior as well. Much like your flooring and carpet, pools of water in your yard are a sign that water is not properly draining, and that more water than normal is present in those spots, meaning the likelihood that there is a leak in the pipes below those areas in the grass.

A less noticed, but equally indicative sign is the overgrowth of grass. It may seem like those spots are just unusually healthy, but this is likely caused by an overabundance of water in those spots, which is likely sourced from a leak. Once again, if the signs of overgrowth of pooled water are accompanied by an acrid sewage smell, be warned that there is a high probability of a sewage leak underground in those areas that need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Be sure to keep an eye on your home’s water meter as well. If your water meter is ticking consistently, then it’s a good idea to start scoping out the rest of your home to try and identify where there is extra water running, because it is likely coming from a water leak.

No matter the cause, once a water leak is assumed to be present, you should have a professional confirm that it’s there, and begin the necessary repairs. Letting a water leak go unchecked can cause massive amounts of structural and property damage, and can worsen must faster than expected. Being on top of diagnosing and dealing with an assumed water leak before it gets out of hand will not only provide peace of mind, but it will also provide a significant amount of financial savings in repair costs.

If you suspect there’s have a water leak lurking in your home, consider reaching out to the licensed professionals at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer & Drainage, Inc. The expert technicians of Duane Blanton will be able to perform repairs for any plumbing problems that may arise in your home, in addition to performing regular maintenance to catch minor issues before they become major headaches. For diagnoses and repairs, give the plumbers of Duane Blanton a call at (815) 781-2567, or schedule with Duane Blanton online through their convenient online scheduling portal 24/7!

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