The plumbing system in your Los Angeles, CA home has a major impact on the health and habitability of your living environment. It is responsible for carrying fresh, potable water in and routing waste and wastewater out. Even minor plumbing leaks can lower your indoor air quality (IAQ), expose residents to dangerous pathogens and contaminants, and cause your overhead costs to soar. Plumbing leaks can also rapidly degrade the marketability and value of your investment. To help you identify these issues before they spiral out of control, the following are 10 ways to detect them.

1. Changes in Water Pressure

If you get a small, guttering stream of water when turning on a tap, there’s a good chance that you have a leaky water supply line somewhere. Homes with excessively high water pressure have a high likelihood of developing leaky water supply lines over time. High pressure wears pipes and their connections down until incoming water seeps out before reaching plumbing fixtures. If there’s a supply line leak indoors, it may be depositing fresh water within your walls. You might notice damp drywall and baseboards, pooling water, or loud trickling sounds.

Water supply lines can also develop leaks underground as they travel into homes from the outdoor water main. These leaks can be dangerous for building residents if they aren’t diagnosed and resolved right away. Wherever fresh water can seep out, germs, soil contaminants, and other harmful agents can find their way in.

In-pipe corrosion and sediment build-ups can also cause water supply line leaks. Dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium gradually decrease the interior of water supply pipes and leave fresh water with less room to move through. These build-ups can also cause adverse changes in water pressure at your taps by creating clogs. Heavy mineral deposits additionally weigh pipes down and weaken their connections.

Is Your Water Supply Line Leaking Indoors or Out?

If you have just one or two taps with low water pressure, your supply line leak exists at the pipes or connections that feed them. If all of the taps in your home have low water pressure, look for your leak outside. You may notice outdoor areas with muddy, soggy terrain or standing pools of water. Outdoor supply line leaks can also leave water cloudy, discolored, and foul-smelling at your taps.

2. Rising Water Bills

If your incoming water is spilling out of your pipes before it reaches your taps, you’re paying for far more water than you’re actually consuming. Pay attention to sudden and significant increases in your water bill. Without the addition of new water-reliant appliances or new household members, the most likely cause of an unexplained increase in water use is a leak.

3. A Fast-Blooming Landscape

Your taps are fed by a single, branching water supply line that travels underground from the outdoor water main. All of the drains in your home converge onto a single sewer pipe. This pipe always travels underground but ends at either your septic tank or the municipal sewer main. If either of these two lines is cracked and leaking, you probably have soft, saturated soils outdoors.

Leaky sewer pipes release nutrient-dense effluence into yards. Although waste and wastewater are foul-smelling and highly hazardous to humans, weeds, tree roots, and many living plants love it. Thus, you should always be suspicious of any sudden proliferation of new growth in your yard, especially if it exists just above or around your sewer line.

To compare, water leaks coming from your water supply line will flood your landscape with fresh water. While this might contribute to some new growth, it’s more likely to leave your living landscape elements looking over-watered and unhealthy.

4. Excess Humidity

Slow and hidden leaks can fester away behind building materials for months unnoticed. However, this doesn’t mean that they won’t have an impact on your home and your comfort. If your living space feels increasingly clammy, humid, or oppressive, you might have an ongoing leak adding moisture to your indoor air. Check for condensation on your windows and walls, damp drywall, flooring, and furnishings, and pervasive, moldering odors.

5. Unrelenting Mold and Mildew Problems

The first step in successful mold remediation is finding the underlying cause of mold growth. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), mold spores can start forming within just 48 hours of any flood or leak event. If you’ve been cleaning, deodorizing, and disinfecting to get rid of mold to no avail, the source of your problems could be hidden behind your drywall. Before attempting additional mold clean-up or remediation, have a licensed plumber inspect your home for leaks at the backs of appliances, in crawlspaces, at your slab, and behind your walls.

6. Standing Pools of Water

Check under and behind your appliances for standing pools of water. Take care when doing so. When leaky appliances are still plugged in, there’s always the risk of electric shock and potentially fatal electrocution. Leaks at the backs of appliances are usually the result of loose or worn water supply connections. However, there’s also the possibility that your dishwasher, washing machine, or ice maker has internal, functional problems.

7. Soft, Sagging Building Materials

You might not have pooling water on your floors, but you may notice peeling, bulging, or blistering paint, soft drywall, and sagging building materials. If any of your baseboards, walls, or other building elements are perpetually wet, a plumbing leak is the most likely reason why. However, these issues can also indicate problems with your roofing, HVAC system, or water-reliant appliances.

8. Annoying Dripping Sounds

The constant dripping sound of a leaky faucet can be downright maddening, especially when you’re attempting to drop off to sleep. Leaky faucets might not seem like a big deal to some, but they can waste considerable amounts of water over time. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a single faucet leak can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water each year.

You might hear dripping sounds similar to those made by a leaky faucet coming from behind your drywall. Given their often considerably higher flow rates, supply line leaks behind drywall can cause residential water bills to soar.

9. Changes in Your Home’s Foundation

If your home’s foundation develops noticeable cracks, these may indicate a leaky pipe. Slab leaks occur when wastewater pipes or water supply lines fail and the resulting moisture seeps into building foundations. Slab leaks and foundation cracks can affect the integrity of your home all the way up to its roof. As your foundation shifts and settles, you might discover new drywall cracks, torn flashing, and other fast-spreading damages.

10. Schedule an Annual Whole-House Plumbing Inspection

Among the best ways to detect slow and hidden plumbing leaks is by scheduling a whole-house plumbing inspection. During these annual visits, our plumbers check for loose appliance connections, evidence of hard water, leaks behind drywall, and more. We also test water pressure levels and look for sewer line problems at the building exterior.

We offer exceptional heating, cooling, plumbing, and drain services in Los Angeles, CA and the surrounding cities. We also provide cutting-edge indoor air quality improvements, bathroom remodeling, and preventative maintenance plans. Proudly serving the region since 2000, we’re a top choice for all plumbing repair, maintenance, and installation projects. For leak detection or to schedule a whole-house plumbing inspection, contact We Care Plumbing, Heating, and Air now!

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