Some household leaks are obvious, such as those coming from a faucet or around the base of a toilet. Other leaks, however, may not be as obvious, such as those coming from water pipes behind your drywall. Even these hard-to-spot leaks can be found and fixed if you know what to do.
Leaky pipes that are hidden behind walls do not always make a discernible dripping noise, so look for signs such as peeling paint or wallpaper, warping of the drywall, and water stains. Also, excessive moisture caused by a plumbing leak can cause mold growth. If you notice a musty smell coming from behind the wall, this is an indication that mold is present. In addition to checking the walls for any sign of mold, don't overlook checking the baseboards as well.
If you see signs that a hidden leak exists, you can run a couple of tests to corroborate that a leak is present. One way to test this is by using your water meter. Turn of all of the faucets in the house and any appliances that use water. Write down the usage number on your water meter. Leave the water off for at least three hours then check the meter again. If the usage number is higher, this confirms that water is leaking in the house.
Another test requires the use of a device called a moisture meter. In this test, you need to drill two small holes in the wall at the location of the suspected leak. Then, you insert probes into the holes and check the meter to determine if excessive moisture is present behind the wall.
After locating the leak, the next step is to repair it. In most cases, this will be a temporary repair until a plumber is able to make a permanent one. Making permanent repairs to piping is a complex job that is probably beyond the capabilities of the average homeowner.
The simplest temporary fix is to wrap some duct tape around the hole in the pipe and put hose clamps at either end of the tape. This works best for very small holes and will only work for a very short time, so call a plumber as soon as possible after finishing the task.
Another method that lasts longer than using duct tape is to seal the leak with epoxy putty. The product is available at your local home and garden store.
Also, you can place a patch of rubber on the leak and fasten it with hose clamps. Yet another option is to purchase pipe repair clamps, which are made for this purpose, and place them over the leak. Once you tighten the screws, the clamp holds back the water.
Finding a leak behind a wall and repairing it temporarily is one thing. Fixing the leak permanently is quite another. If you discover that you have a leak behind a wall, contact a qualified plumber in your city. For more information on how to handle a leak while waiting on a plumber, contact a plumbing service, such as Kenny Bunch Plumbing.