Home Improvement

How to Find a Leaking Pipe

Leaky pipes can cost you hundreds or even thousands of pounds in repair bills. Recognising the warning signs of this issue could stop the leak from causing expensive structural damage to your home. Leaky pipes are also the cause of mould and mildew, which carry a health risk for your household. 

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So, if you want to prevent a number of maintenance issues and see how to find them fast, keep reading! This article is for all of you who aren’t sure whether they have a leaky pipe in their home.

Signs of a leaky pipe

You should be able to tell the early signs of hidden plumbing leaks in your property. Here are the most obvious ones.

  • The water utility bills increase. Each time a water bill lands on your doormat, compare it with the previous one. An increase in your bill without a rational cause or change of household routine can be a sign that you may have a leak.
  • The water metre is constantly running. Test your water metre when no one’s home. Switch off all water sources for about three hours. This includes indoor and outdoor appliances and fixtures such as showers, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and garden sprinkler systems. Take a picture of the water metre number. In three hours, check your water metre again. If the metre has been ticking away, you might have a leak.
  • Damaged walls, floors and ceilings. Rippling, warping, sagging or staining of any area of the ceilings, walls and floors is an indication that you have a leaky pipe. Same goes for stained, blistered, chipped or bubbling wallpaper or paint. Having a leaky pipe inside a wall, ceiling, or flooring can cause serious damage, which is best handled by a professional.
  • Mould, mildew and funny smells. Mould and mildew are common in shower corners but if you find them in a dry room, it might be a sign that you have a leaking pipe in wall. Old, still water accumulates musty and earthy smells. Mould and mildew also pose a great health risk for your household.
  • A room that remains cooler than the others. Water removes heat faster than air. If a room stays cooler, it could be due to a damp area pulling the warmth down.
  • Sparks coming out of your light switches. Leaks that reach the electrical system can become lethal. If you see sparks or hear crackles when you switch on or off any electrical appliance, immediately cut off the electricity supply to this area and call for professional assistance as soon as possible.
  • A dripping sound. Turn off all appliances and listen for faint dripping sounds. If you hear anything that sounds like a drip, find it before it becomes a big issue.

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How to find a leaking pipe

To find the leaky pipe, follow the signs of damage. Serious problems like pinhole leaks behind walls that slowly cause damage to your home’s infrastructure should be dealt with as soon as possible. If you aren’t sure where the damage is coming from, here are the most probable culprits.

  1. Observe the toilets.

    Toilets account for up to 30% of your family’s water usage. If you have a leak in your toilet, it will be obvious in your water bill. Test by adding food colouring to your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the colour appears in the toilet bowl, you probably have a leak from the tank to your toilet drain. You will have to fix your toilet mechanism.

  2. Pay attention to sinks, baths, showerheads and taps.

    Make sure the taps for your shower or bath are shut off completely. Check under around the sinks for mould. If your home is over 25 years old, be more vigilant in your check as older as plumbing systems decline over time. If you notice a slow drip, consider replacing the tap.

  3. Check the water heaters.

    See if there are any puddles around your water heater. This is an obvious sign of a leaky pipe. Check the water heater connections for oxidation or corrosion. If you see any of these issues, call a professional to inspect it.

  4. Could be the washing machines and dishwashers.

    Check the pumps, hoses and valves on your washing machines and dishwashers for oxidation or discolouration. A leak in your washing machine or dishwasher hose can cause a flood when it breaks. Replace the hoses as soon as possible so that the problem does not become an expensive one.

  5. Check for a leaking pipe in wall.

    If you notice any wall damage such as wet spots, mould and mildew, bubbling or blistered paint or wallpaper, the dripping pipe is most probably in that exact spot. You’ll need more than basic building skills to get to the leaky pipe, which is why we recommend calling a professional in this case.

Still can’t find the leak?

If you have checked all your fixtures, fittings, floors, walls and ceilings, and still aren’t sure where the leaky pipe is, then you need expert help. If you have found the problem, but can’t get to it, because it’s at a hard-to-reach spot, you’ll probably need some professional help. Or maybe you just want to have this issue disappear from your life forever without bothering to know the details. In any case, you can always rely on the certified plumbers working with Fantastic Services to take care of this hard job for you! Check out our plumbing prices guide to learn how much plumbers charge per hour.

Visit the main website for price rates on our professional plumbers!


  • The most common signs of a leaky pipe are flooding, damaged walls, floors or ceilings, mould and mildew and high water bills;
  • To find out if you have a leaky pipe, perform a test on your water metre and you’ll know for sure;
  • If you have a leaky pipe inside your wall, floor or ceiling, do not attempt to fix it yourself and immediately call a professional.


Have you ever had any hidden plumbing leaks in your home? Did you fix it yourself or did you call a professional? Share your experience in the comments!

Image source: Andrey_Popov/shutterstock.com

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