(Updated March, 2024)

There are few things as destructive, or as stealthy, as a water leak inside the home. A few drips over a day or two is barely noticeable at all–but spread out over six months? You could be looking at some major issues, structurally and even to your health. If you suspect you may have a water leak, here are a few things you can look for before you start searching for who to call for water leaks in a wall in Portland OR.

Some signs of leaks within a wall are as obvious as a Portland summer day is long. For example, peeling paint or wallpaper that’s bubbling are signs that there could be a leak behind a wall. Puddles or wet carpets are possible signs of a water leak, too, as well as a musty smell in a room.

Fortunately, good news comes in twos: You don’t have to play a guessing game to detect a wall leak and there are ways to fix the problem before it causes extensive damage. And if you’ve reached a point where you need professional help, Meticulous Plumbing is just a phone call, email, or form fill away.

How To Detect Wall Leaks

Wondering how to tell if there’s a hidden water leak behind a wall, or what test can be performed to detect a water leak? You don’t necessarily need to be a professional plumber to sleuth out the problem. You may, however, need professional advice to find the source of the leak or to cut a hole in the wall to verify that there’s a leaking pipe.
(Note: It’s not always a leaky pipe or a plumbing leak at all; it could be coming from your roof. More on that in a bit.)

It’s important to get the problem sorted out sooner rather than later — i.e., immediately after discovering evidence of a hidden leak. If you don’t, you may find yourself in the middle of a much more expensive water damage restoration project.

Slow leaks can cause fast problems, such as mold, rotting wood, and structural damage. So keep an eye out for leaks, especially if you’re working on a home improvement project.
Here is a brief overview of ways in which it’s possible to diagnose a leak inside a wall from outside that wall.

  • Look for puddles or wet spots. The most obvious sign of a problem within a wall. Pay close attention to walls and floors near appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, and bathroom fixtures.
  • Listen for Running Water. If you suspect a plumbing leak, listen carefully for the sound of running water inside the walls. Turn off all water-using appliances and fixtures in your home and listen for any unusual sounds that could indicate a leaky pipe.
  • Feel for Moisture. Are there places you can’t get a good look? Run your hands along the walls and baseboards to feel for any moisture or dampness. Pay attention to areas where water might collect, such as around sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.
  • Signs of Water Damage. Discoloration on a wall or beneath tiles next to a wall. This may be hard to spot, so look for slight, irregularly shaped discolorations.
  • Mold or mildew. Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments, so check for any signs of mold growth on the walls, ceilings, or baseboards. Mold or mildew growth can indicate the presence of excess moisture from a plumbing leak. If the room smells like mold or mildew, they may be growing in the wall itself.
  • Textural changes. If the wall, wallpaper, or paint appears to have changed texture (become rougher or started sagging, etc.), then there may be a leak behind that wall. A leak behind an upstairs wall will also discolor portions of your ceiling, so look up as well as down!
  • Higher-than-usual water bills. If your water bill goes up for no reason that you can determine, you may want to call a plumber to look for leaks within walls.
  • Monitor Water Meter. Turn off all faucets, fixtures, and appliances in your home, then check your water meter. If the meter continues to run or shows signs of water usage, it could indicate a hidden plumbing leak that needs further investigation.
  • Use a moisture meter. This nifty gadget is designed to locate moisture or find a water leak within walls using an infrared camera. You can find one at most hardware stores.

Other Reasons for a Wall Leaks in Your Home

While plumbing issues are a common cause of water damage in homes, there are several other reasons you might experience water damage even when there are no problems with the plumbing. The most common is roof leaks that can occur due to damaged or missing roof shingles, deteriorated flashing around chimneys and vents, or improper roof installation.

Water can seep through the roof and into the attic or ceiling, causing water stains, mold growth, and structural damage. Cracks or gaps in the foundation of your home can allow water to infiltrate and seep into the basement or crawl space. Poor drainage around the foundation, especially during heavy rain or snowmelt, can exacerbate the problem and lead to water damage.

Clogged or damaged gutters and downspouts can prevent proper drainage of rainwater away from your home’s foundation and exterior walls. This can result in water pooling around the foundation, leading to basement flooding, foundation damage, and water infiltration into the walls.

Damaged or deteriorated siding, stucco, or exterior cladding can allow water to penetrate into the walls of your home. Improperly installed or sealed windows and doors can also contribute to water infiltration and damage. Malfunctioning appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, and water heaters can leak water onto floors and into walls, causing water damage over time.

By being aware of these potential causes of water damage, you can take proactive measures to prevent and mitigate water-related issues in your home, ensuring a safe and healthy living environment for you and your family.

How To Fix a Wall Leak in Your Home

Your best bet is to call Meticulous Plumbing. We have years of experience diagnosing and fixing wall leaks. It may be as simple as working to find the leak and then patching a hole in a pipe. The problem may also require more extensive repairs, such as cutting a hole in the wall and replacing a leaky pipe.

If there has been a leak somewhere for a long time without being diagnosed, then you may have extensive restoration projects ahead of you. Don’t wait too long to have an expert plumber give your home’s plumbing system a good looking over.

Meticulous Plumbing stands ready to solve your problems, with quality work and customer service that has set the industry standard.

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