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There are several telltale signs that you have a water leak in your wall, though detecting exactly where it is could prove difficult. A water leak under the sink is easy to identify. A leaking pipe in a wall is hidden, and the symptoms of the leak could be some way from the leak itself.

In this post, you’ll discover the most common signs of a water leak in your walls. We also discuss how to detect water leaks in walls.

How do you know you have a water leak in your wall?

There are some telltale signs that you have a hidden leak. These include:

  • Curling vinyl flooring. Often found near bathtubs and sinks.
  • Paint that is flaking or peeling.
  • Wood finishes turning a chalk color.
  • Water stains (on walls and ceilings).
  • Blistering of drywall (see our post, “How to repair water damaged wall blistering”)

If you leave a leak unrepaired, it can lead to mold. This is likely to lead to health problems, and you’ll need to put in place a mold remediation plan. As with any home maintenance, the sooner you act, the easier (and cheaper) the repair.

How to find the water leak in your wall

If you think you have a leak, the first thing to do is confirm it. Turn off your water for 12 hours. Note your water meter reading. At the end of the 12 hours, if the meter has moved you have a leak.

Find where the leak is

If you noticed any of the telltale signs, search in these areas first. Move appliances, and check for dampness at joints, corroded pipes, and mold behind them. If you notice any of these, retighten the fitting and replace any split or punctured pipes.

Inspect exposed pipes in basements and crawl spaces. You are looking for signs of water leakage such as mold or rotting wood, and, of course, unexpected dampness. Search for corroded pipes and leaking joints.

The water leak may not always be where you think

If you do discover you have a leak, it’s important to remember the leak may not be where you find the symptoms. Water travels downhill, and always finds the easiest route. The actual leak could be some distance from peeling paintwork, for example. You may need a moisture meter to locate a water leak in your wall.

How to detect water leaks in walls using a moisture meter

If you find a water stain, mold, or peeling wallpaper or paint, try this trick with a moisture meter:

  • Hit a nail into the wall where the water leak symptoms are most prominent
  • Connect insulated wire to it
  • Connect the other end of the wire to one of the meter’s contact pins
  • Place the other pin on the part of the wall where you suspect the leak may be

If the meter reads ‘dry’, the wall is not wet between the two points. Continue this process until you find the route of wetness in your wall. You’ve now found where the water leak originates.

When you know the signs of a water leak in a wall, you’ll be able to take the steps to pinpoint where the leak is. Now you’ll be ready to repair the leak, and restore your walls, ceilings or floors to their original condition. For more tips and advice, contact Porter's Cleaning

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