Leaks aren’t always as obvious as a puddle under the sink or a drip that comes from the ceiling. Sometimes they’re sneaky, hidden things that waste natural resources, drive up utility bills and even risk the integrity of your home. Left to continue, the damage will always worsen. But caught and repaired early, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.
The evidence might not always be plain, but it does usually emerge in time. Here are 5 signs that you might have a leak in or around your home.
#1: Soft Spots in the Floor
Water and wood are not the best of friends. If unprotected wood, such as your floor joists and subfloor, stay wet for an extended period of time, they’ll eventually break down and rot. And that leads to soft or saggy-feeing spots on the floor.
Water that drips from a pipe or seeps out from around the shower or another fixture can soak the wood subfloor and joists for days, weeks, months or even longer before you realize that there’s a leak. If your home has a soft spot that’s near any plumbing fixture or pipe, a call to a plumber right away can help minimize the extent of the damage.
#2: Higher Water Utility Bills and a Busy Water Meter
Utility bills can go up for a number of reasons. Rates might be higher at certain times of the year. And sometimes rates increase permanently. But if your water bill is inexplicably high, some of the water that you pay for every month might never make it to any tap. If your water meter moves when there’s no water running inside, it’s a pretty safe bet that a leak is the cause.
Leaks can happen anywhere there’s a pipe or plumbing fixture. Sometimes, they’re in an obvious place, which lets you tackle the repair quickly. But some sneaky leaks waste gallons upon gallons of water and leave no trace of evidence except for a utility bill that keeps getting higher and a meter that keeps advancing.
#3: Unexplained Mold
Mold needs a food source, oxygen, some warmth and water to grow. The food may be natural fibers, bread, grease, soil and many others. The paper on drywall can harbor mold. So can wood and any surface that’s dirty. Oxygen and warmth aren’t hard to come by in any house. As for the moisture, a water leak will do the trick.
Mold is especially common in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. But it can grow almost anywhere. The telltale, moldy, dark stains are a clue that you might have a water leak from a water supply line or a broken drain.
#4: Sour or Musty Smells
Water might be pure when it flows through a supply line, but it doesn’t stay that way for long unattended. That’s especially true in summer, but it can happen any time of year. Chronic wet conditions can create musty odors or sour ones, and they’re often difficult to track down.
Musty smells usually indicate mold and mildew. They smell a bit like soil. Sour odors, however, can mean that water has pooled and stagnated, which can breed all manner of bacteria. If the odor is foul and repugnant, you might have a sewer line leak that’s letting gas permeate the house.
#5: Cracks in the House Foundation
Most homes develop a crack or two in the foundation over time. That’s a natural effect of settling. But a brand new crack is always a good reason to investigate. If a water leak is the cause, stopping it will help prevent further damage to the structure.
Water softens up the soil that stabilizes your home’s foundation. If there’s much water, it can wash the soil away. That puts the whole house in danger. And in wintertime, a concrete foundation or the mortar between bricks can easily crack under the pressure of expanding frozen water.
Water is an incredibly versatile thing. It’s vital for life, and no one can live without it. But it’s also a destructive force that can create widespread damage. Unfortunately, some of the damage might be done before you realize that there’s a leak afoot.
If you suspect a leak in your home, time is of the essence. Fortunately, Rodenhiser has helped Massachusetts homeowners in the Route 495 / 128 area for over 85 years and counting. Call us today and we’ll find the leak that’s plaguing you.