If you have a major water line leak in your home, a timely response is vital to limiting household losses and damages. An undetected major water leak can release 3,000- to 4,000 gallons of water a day — a 1-inch burst pipe can spill into your home and property at 210 gallons per minute, potentially causing thousands of dollars of damage to your home. This threat is why learning the signs of a major water line leak is so important.
Discovering waterline leaks is often difficult because pipes are located underground or hidden within your home’s infrastructure. Even leaks originating from outside can sneak thousands of gallons of water into the walls and floors of your home, or into your home’s yard.
Even if you have no plumbing experience, you can learn to spot the signs of severe water leaks. These are 8 signs of a leak to watch for that can save you money and help prevent loss of property and damage to your home.
1. Strange Sounds Coming from Your Pipes
Odd hissing or dripping sounds coming from walls, ceilings, or floors of your house are possible indicators of a burst water pipe. Although some leaks don’t cause any sound effects, many do, especially when a lot of pressure builds up in the line. In any event, it is wise to have a plumber investigate any unusual sounds in your walls.
2. Dirty Water
The main water line to your home directly connects to the municipal water supply. If your main line develops a leak, the water flows out into the street and yard. At the site of the break, dirt and debris may also get into your pipe. As a result, your tap water will become discolored and dirty. You can consider dirty tap water a sign of a potentially severe main water line leak.
3. Damp or Wet Areas in Your Home
Dark spots on your carpet and walls, persistent water puddles on the floor, watermarks, and wet ceiling tiles in the basement are definite signs you have a significant water line leak. However, you should ensure that the damp areas are not near another water source first. For example, damp spots near a toilet or sink could signify a more minor leak. In either case, you should never ignore wet or damp spots in your home.
4. Dank Smell
Since clean water doesn’t smell, funny-smelling tap or shower water may be another sign of a major water line leak. Just as leaking water from the main line picks up dirt and debris, it can also pick up smells, especially of dirt or rotting wood. Foul odors can also lead you to hard-to-spot damp areas in your home.
5. Low Water Pressure
Low water pressure often accompanies a major water line leak. With so much water pouring from your pipes into areas it shouldn’t, less pressure exists in the line, which means less pressure in your shower and sinks as well.
When you notice a drop in water pressure in your house, you should check the water faucets throughout your home to ensure the pressure is consistently low. If the pressure is only low in a single sink, you likely have a blocked faucet aerator. But exceptionally low pressure throughout your home means that it’s time to call the plumber.
6. Mold and Mildew
Leaky pipes create the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow near the affected area. If allowed to grow, mold can cause serious damage to your home and your health. However, mold spots forming on your ceiling or walls can also make it easy to spot a major water line leak.
7. Cracks in the Foundation
Cracks in your home’s foundation can be caused by your home settling naturally over time — but they can also indicate a leak in your main water line. This type of cracking happens when water compromises the concrete. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect the outside of your home for signs of a crack.
8. Mysterious Increase in the Water Bill
Unfortunately for homeowners, it isn’t unusual for a major water line to not show any of these obvious signs right away. In this case, your only clue may be a sudden, unexplained spike in your water bill. If you can’t find a reasonable explanation, it’s likely the result of a water leak somewhere in the line.
Taking Care of Your Major Water Leak
Once you determine that you have a major water leak, you should immediately contact a plumber. Leaks of this magnitude require expertise and training that most homeowners don’t have. A plumber can quickly diagnose the problem and put a stop to the damage.
When the plumber leaves, you’ll still be left with significant water damage to your home and property. Depending on how long the leak was occurring, you may also be facing mold and mildew growth. To treat these and other side effects of a major water line leak, you’ll want to call in a professional restoration company like Emrick Services. The experts at Emerick can handle all water damage restoration duties, including clean-up, mold removal, and remediation.
If your home has suffered damage following a major water line leak, ask your insurance representative to contact Emrick Services.