Tracking down the source of a water leak can be more complicated than many people think. As hidden and undetected leaks are responsible for a lot of water damage in homes, though, it’s critical to locate and repair them before they cause rot and other expensive damage.
Water leaks frequently occur in ceilings, walls, and cabinetry, as well as under the toilet. But before you go ripping up your floors, cutting holes in the walls, or tearing out cabinets, it’s easier and likely more cost-effective to call a water damage restoration or leak detection company. They have the expertise and professional equipment needed to determine the source of a leak. They’ll also help you draw up a plan to get the leak fixed, the moisture dried out, and any water damage repaired.
Signs of Water Leaks in the Home
From higher-than-usual water bills to reduced water pressure and strange odors or noises coming from the plumbing system, here are signs to be aware of to identify and resolve leaks as soon as possible.
Floor and Subflooring Leaks
Slab leaks occur when pipes underneath your Central Florida home’s foundation break or burst due to corrosion and begin to leak. In some cases, you’ll know straight away you have a slab leak because you’ll see water puddling or pooling. In many other cases, however, a slab water leak is slow and can be causing hidden damage because you’re unaware there’s a problem. Here are slab leak signs to look for.
- “Hot spots” on the floor – If you’re standing on one part of your floor and your feet suddenly feel warmer compared to another part of your floor, yet there’s no other apparent reason for it, it might be a slab leak.
- Flooring problems – Slow and fast leaks alike can soak your home’s flooring. You might notice small puddles if it’s a fast leak. Small leaks reveal themselves through signs like a mildew odor from soaked padding or bubbling as moisture damages the flooring material. If your home has wood flooring, you might notice warping or shifting. Tile floor grout might crumble or crack.
- Moisture around your home’s exterior base – Slab leak water can also spread outward. When that happens, you might start to notice signs of moisture around the external base of your home. There could be unexplainable puddles or more subtle signs moisture is present, such as mold, fungi, or moss growth. If the leak’s been happening for a while, you could notice your home’s foundation beginning to crack. There could also be siding material problems such as rot, efflorescence, or flaking.
- Spike in water usage – Leaks often cause a rise in water usage. If your water bill’s higher than usual and there’s no reason for the increase, there’s a strong probability you have a water leak somewhere in or below your home.
Wall and Ceiling Leaks
Dark stains on ceilings and walls are usually a sure sign there’s a leak happening somewhere. Dark brown and copper-colored stains are particularly common for pipe leaks over ceilings. If you have one or more bathrooms on a second floor, be mindful of spots underneath them as well as sagging ceiling areas.
Warped walls from water damage are often subtle and more difficult to see, but the damage could be extensive. Look for slightly curved planks, discolored areas, and uneven surfaces, which you might be able to detect better by running your hand over them. When exposed to moisture, drywall becomes soft, bubbles and cracks; you might see small flakes or pieces on the floor.
Inside and Under Cabinet Leaks
Slow drips under kitchen and bathroom sinks are two of the most common household leaks. A slow drip in either of these locations often goes unnoticed as people tend to store wet items in these cabinets. If you notice a musty odor, it can be a sign of mold and microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) growing due to a leak. You can also look for rusted areas which can cause a pipe to burst and leak.
Sometimes you can fix a water leak beneath a toilet by simply tightening the bolts that secure it to the floor. Other times, though, you need to remove the toilet and replace the wax ring that seals the problems. And then there are the times when a toilet leak is due to a bigger problem that can cause significant damage in the bathroom. A cracked supply line can lead to flooding.
Non-Invasive Leak Detection Methods
If you suspect one or more hidden leaks in your Central Florida home, a water damage restoration company can use several non-invasive leak detection solutions to locate and repair it. Non-invasive leak detection offers several advantages:
- It’s more accurate than other DIY methods and is often close to 100% precise. Higher accuracy means faster problem identification, so you can quickly move to the repair stage.
- Because the technologies are so advanced, they’re also highly cost-effective. Leaks can often be pinpointed in less than an hour.
- Non-invasive water leak detection methods spare your buildings or structures physical damages. Plumbers often tend to physically search for leaks which can mean dismantling entire pipe works when attempting to find where the leak’s coming from. They might remove slabs and tiles looking for leaks as well. But with non-invasive technology, there’s no need for all these.
The top three non-invasive leak detection methods are sonar, infrared, and moisture readings.
How Sonar Leak Detection Works
One of the most advanced and accurate methods for leak detection, sonar, uses acoustics to determine a leak’s location. The technique measures the speed of sound as it moves through your home’s pipelines, making it easy to identify where a leak is with remarkable accuracy. Water leak sounds vary based on different factors:
- A leak’s severity
- Location and depth of the pipe
- Water pressure
- Pipe installation
- And more
The equipment used can include headphones, microphones, electronic monitors, and acoustic listening sticks.
Sonar leak detection is particularly useful in buried or difficult-to-access pipes. The process is extremely cost-effective as no digging or tearing up of walls and flooring is required; clean-up is also much quicker. Because the technology is incredibly sensitive, it makes identifying smaller leaks that would otherwise go unnoticed a much easier process.
What is Infrared Leak Detection?
Infrared leak detection uses thermal imaging to detect subtle temperature differences and patterns revealing the existence of water. Structural moisture tends to spread in recognizable patterns such as triangular and unstructured shapes and also makes itself known through warm areas. Still, moisture is one of the most challenging issues to detect, which is why so many people don’t suspect they have a leak until water starts dripping from the ceiling.
The right thermal camera can detect subtle temperature differences, help locate water, and approximate the moisture extent, but they don’t always guarantee the presence of water. Moisture meters are often used to confirm what thermal cameras have detected.
How Moisture Readings Work
Moisture meters detect moisture in building materials and look for leaks in your home, even when it’s unclear where the origin point is located. They’re crucial tools for water damage remediation experts. Some moisture meters combine thermal imaging and moisture measurement for finding and testing for moisture.
Moisture meters look for temperature differences caused by evaporation, conduction, or content. How accurate a moisture meter depends on several factors, including:
- The material being tested.
- The type of moisture meter being used.
- Whether the moisture meter has the appropriate scale for the material being tested.
- The procedures being used for the test.
- How accurate the meter is and whether it’s been properly maintained.
The more advanced a meter’s technology, the higher the rate of accuracy. That makes it essential to work with a water damage remediation and restoration company that has the right tools and knowledge for the job. Using the correct procedures can result in highly accurate and reliable moisture testing.
Leak Detection: Your Best Defense Against Water Damage
Even the most minor leak in your Central Florida’s vast plumbing network can do serious harm. Leak detection services stop minor leaks from becoming major disasters. Though some plumbers are trained in the use of non-invasive leak detection equipment, many still use dated techniques like digging up the yard or breaking through walls or ceilings to identify leaks.
Sonar, infrared, and moisture detection methods:
- Save you time and money and make it possible to pinpoint leaks without the expense and hassle of destroying your home or yard. Central Florida Restoration Solutions employs non-invasive detection methods to find leaks without doing damage to your property. We don’t leave a mess behind—we find leaks, fix them, and leave your home in the condition it was before we arrived.
- Are precise and can detect the exact location of a leak, so there’s no digging or tearing down walls to discover the source of water damage.
- Repairs are much quicker.
Finding the Source of Leaks Before They Cause Water Damage
Non-invasive water leak detection systems are designed to provide maximum protection against water leaks and resulting house flooding or other water damage. They’re designed to detect even the smallest leaks such as condensate, line cracks, leaks in heating and cooling pipes, and outside seepage before major damage occurs.
Water leaks might seem like an everyday reality of homeownership, but they can cause severe structural damage to many areas of your home. Professional water leak detection services safeguard your Central Florida home, detecting and stopping abnormal levels of water flow underground or in other hidden locations.
Do you suspect you have a hidden plumbing leak somewhere in your home or on your property? Have you had multiple plumbers out to your home, but the problem never seems solved or keeps recurring? CFRS provides water detection and repair service that include:
- Timely arrival and prompt services
- Courteous, friendly, and skilled technicians
- Advanced technologies and innovative water leak detection methods
- Clean work areas during and after the job’s complete
- Honest, transparent pricing
Our goal is to make the water leak detection process as stress-free as possible by using state-of-the-art techniques. Our years of experience in detecting water leaks means you rest easy knowing that wherever a leak is located, we’ll find it and make things right. We want to resolve your plumbing leaks once and for all!
Along with water leak detection, CFRS is Central Florida’s premier water damage, mold damage, fire damage, and smoke damage company. To learn more about all the home remediation and restoration services we provide, including 24/7 emergency services, contact us online today. You can also call or text us at 407-988-6101. We’re always here to give you the personalized support you need to keep your Central Florida home safe from water damage. We’ll also show you how to avoid costly future leaks, damages, and repairs.