1. Check your water meter.
The simplest way to discover hidden leaks is to check your water meter. The water meter shows the continuous flow of water within the household in real-time. So, make sure to shut all taps before doing the observation. Note the current reading and look for movements in the meter. If the taps are shut there should be no movement whatsoever but to double-check, take note of the meter reading and then come back in an hour and check it again. A slow movement over an hour may not be so serious but if the water meter is moving as you watch it, then the leak is severe and worth calling a specialist immediately.
2. Look for unusual puddles beside walls.
Puddles adjacent to walls may not be caused by simple spills but by something far worse. These indicate that water may be seeping from the wall itself and causing the puddles. Take note particularly in areas near water operated appliances such as washing machines and toilets.
If the area is covered in a fitted carpet, feel around for damp and also look for discoloration and mold. Mold on carpets, vinyl and even walls and cornices are a dead giveaway that there is damp where none should exist.
3. Look for subtle wall disturbances.
Another obvious way to identify leaks is to observe subtle changes in walls. Water within walls will eventually manifest when it begins to saturate the paint and plaster area. It may result in discoloration of the wall or the presence of paint bubbles. Tap your fingers over suspicious areas. Damp behind the paint gives a spongy feel and a muted sound when you tap it.
What is worse is that fully saturated walls eventually buckle due to the weight of the water pulling the wall downwards. If the water meter is flowing and you cannot find evidence of the leak inside, check outside perimeter walls for hidden bulges that may indicate the presence of a leak.
4. Note the presence of stains or molds.
Drywall or wallboards are made of gypsum, a fiber-wood compound that is susceptible to mold growth. These molds thrive in moist environments so molds growing in drywall may be subtle signs of inter-wall leakage.
Remember that molds do not grow immediately. They need the constant presence of moisture to facilitate their growth. So spilled water is unlikely to be the cause.
5. Be vigilant for unusually musty odors.
Smelling musty odors is the most complex method in identifying leaks inside walls. It requires association with what molds and mildew smell like to discover inter-wall water leaks accurately.
The smell of dirty socks or rotting wood every time you pass by an area of your house may suggest water leakage behind the wall. Do not call people right away. Confirm this observation by doing the above-mentioned tips first. You would not want a specialist to break a hole in your house because of a false alarm.
Identifying leaks in walls may be a bit complicated but it is possible if you know the indicators. We hope this article has helped.
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