Some surprises in life are more pleasant than others. A leak in your home isn’t typically one of them. However, if you detect water from an undetermined source, don’t panic right away. Instead, come up with a plan to solve the mystery. (No doubt you’ll want to get on top of the problem before it worsens.) That said, here are 10 tips to help you get to the source quickly and seek help if needed.

1.  Check wall and floor areas.

Looking high and low, literally, can help you suss out why water has entered your house. There can be telltale signs that indicate the likely culprit. For instance, wall discoloration (yellowish or brown) and water stains can suggest a water leak coming from behind drywall.

Another indication that moisture may be coming from this area is if you observe that your wallpaper is buckling or if the paint is bubbling or flaking. The sound of dripping from behind the walls is another red flag.

2. Watch utility bills.

A hidden leak can reveal itself as significant when there are fluctuations in your water bill. If your bill is outside the normal range, then it might be time to call a plumbing expert to troubleshoot and address any concerns.

3. Monitor your water meter.

One way to spot a leak is to read your water meter and check for anything unusual. (If you’re unfamiliar, you can typically find your water meter near the street or where the water supply line connects to the house.) Shut off all faucets and make sure your dishwasher and washing machine aren’t in use.

Then, check your water meter and write down the numbers. Wait one hour and observe if there’s a change. The outcome can be objective proof that there’s a leak.

You can also use the water meter to determine whether the leak is internal or external. Engage the shut-off valve on the main water supply. Check the water meter and write down the numbers. Do the same an hour later. The water leak is likely inside your home if the numbers remain constant. If there is a disparity, the leak is likely in the buried water line that runs to the house.

4. Shut off your water main.

Your water shut-off valve can help determine the leak’s location. Look for it in your front yard near the cap to the sewer riser. Shut off the main valve and check the water meter’s red triangular flow indicator. If it’s moving, the leak is outside, at a point between the shut-off valve and the water main.

5. Inspect the yard.

Outdoor water leaks do happen. Observing your yard’s condition might help you uncover the source of your leak. For example, a healthy grass patch in an area where you normally don’t have growth may indicate that a buried water line is leaking. Puddles of water can also spell trouble.

6. Check faucets.

Faucets can be particularly finicky, as the rubber washer often causes leaks. However, replacing this part is a doable DIY job. You’ll need to turn off the water under the sink or at the main cutoff valve. Then, remove the faucet handles to access the gasket. The handle contains the screw, packing nut, stem and O-ring. You’ll need to remove all of these pieces before getting to the washer.

7. Try the food coloring hack.

Your toilet may be an issue unbeknownst to anyone in your household. Specifically, the toilet’s flapper (the stopper that prevents water from going into the bowl until you’ve flushed) can even be the underlying issue. Over time, this seal can deteriorate and allow water to enter from the tank into the bowl.

A leaking toilet can mean you needlessly waste resources and drive up your bill. Luckily, you can use a tried-and-true technique that’s also budget friendly and possibly fun.

First, remove the toilet tank lid. Next, pour a few drops of food coloring there. Wait for about 30 minutes before checking the water. The toilet might be problematic if you see color entering the tank into the bowl. At this juncture, you should call a reliable plumber or replace the flapper yourself if you feel confident in your abilities.

8. Check the toilet handle.

The toilet handle can be another trouble area. To determine if it’s the leading factor, remove the tank’s lid and flush the toilet. Take care that the handle is functioning smoothly. Also, take a look at the chain connected to the handle. If the chain is caught under the flapper it could result in a leak.

9. Check under appliances.

If you still can’t get to the bottom of the leak, check beneath your appliances and cabinetry. In the event of dripping or pooling water, shut off the water supply to the appliance. From here, call a local appliance repair company.  You don’t want to risk a flood or damage the appliances because you didn’t act promptly.

10. Examine your attic.

Stains on your ceiling are another physical sign of a leak in your roof. Leaky roofs can present significant issues to your home’s structure and safety, so you don’t want to take any chances.

This is the occasion to play detective. Start by giving your attic a walkthrough with a flashlight during heavy rainfall (or shortly after). Be on the lookout for signs of moisture. Begin with the floor and work your way up to the top eventually. Call a qualified roofing company if you suspect something is amiss.

While many of these issues are easily remedied with a DIY approach, once you identify the source of the leak, it’s best to lean on the experts in such a situation. That’s where the experienced team at JO Mory comes into the picture. We’re equipped to handle your residential plumbing needs in Northeast Indiana. We also install water heaters, water softeners, and can fix that leaky pipe in your basement. If you have questions or would like to arrange for a free quote, call 800.621.6679.