Any leak in your plumbing system can be disastrous if left unfixed, so if you’re a homeowner or a landlord, you should know how to test water pipes for leaks. You don’t want to end up with damaged items, high water bills, or mold and mildew growth in your home. So, how do you test pipes for leaks?

Detecting leaks in your plumbing system can be challenging, especially when your pipes are inside the walls. You will have to employ advanced techniques or sophisticated gadgets to detect such leaks. Most times, there are signs you can watch out for that will help you to identify water leaks in your plumbing system.

This guide explores the methods you can use to detect water leaks in your plumbing system. While there are many techniques available, choose an option that works best for you.

How to check water pipes for leaks

Homeowners need to know how to test water pipes for leaks to avoid a water leak disaster in a residential plumbing system. Fortunately, there are many ways to test plumbing lines for water leaks.

Here is how to test water pipes for leaks.

  1. Use leak detectors

The most reliable way to test water pipes for leaks is by using a leak detector. This device can notify you upon detecting a water leak in pipes and fixtures. That’s because they come with an alarm system that alerts you when there’s a leak in your pipes.

For example, suppose you have an old water heater or plumbing system that is more likely to develop holes due to corrosion. In that case, you can install a water leak detector around the plumbing fixtures to detect possible leaks. A detector can detect even a tiny amount of leaking water that may not be noticeable otherwise.

  1. Track your water bills

Paying attention to your home’s monthly water bills is another way to test if your home might have water leaks. So, track your water bill payments to see if there are unexpected or sudden changes. 

For example, if you notice your water bills going up but you haven’t changed how your household uses water, it may indicate a water leak. Try to find the leaking point in your plumbing system as best you can. If you can’t find it or need help fixing it, hire a local Chicago plumber to help you do the job.

  1. Check your water meter

Another technique to detect a water leak in your home’s plumbing lines is by reading your home’s water meter. Note that this test requires you to turn off the water supply to all appliances, dishwashers, and washing machines. 

First, locate your water meter by checking your basement area, under the kitchen sink, or concrete boxes built outside. Next, locate the main water shut-off valve and turn it off. After that, check your water meter to see if there is any movement. If you notice the meter moving, you’ll know that one of your plumbing pipes is leaking.

Conversely, if you don’t see any immediate changes in the meter reading, wait for at least an hour and reread the meter. If there is some minimal movement, you might have a slow water leak in your pipes. So, contact a professional plumber to find out where the leak is coming from.

  1. Dye test your toilet

The toilet dye test can also help test water pipes for leaks, as toilets use about a third of the water in your household. A leaky toilet can waste significant water and increase your monthly water bill.

One of the toilet parts that is most prone to leaking is the flapper. It stops water from entering the toilet bowl but allows it to run through when you flush. Unfortunately, over time it can become fragile and brittle, which can allow the toilet tank water to leak into the toilet bowl. Thankfully, you can use the dye test to detect the leak.

Pour a few drops of dye or food coloring into your toilet tank and wait a few minutes. Don’t flush the toilet. If, after a few minutes, the dye color appears in the bowl, you have a leak.

If that’s not the case, you can add the dye to the toilet bowl and leave it for some time without flushing the toilet. If the color begins to disappear slowly, you probably have a leak in the system. In that case, contact a professional plumber who knows how to test drain pipes for leaks.

  1. Watch out for the leaking clues

Another strategy to test water pipes for leaks is to watch out for the signs of plumbing leakage. Some signs are obvious like, for example, if a fixture on your bathroom sink cracks and starts spraying water everywhere, you’ll immediately know the source of the problem. Other pipe leaks, however, are more subtle.

Some pipe leaks can go undetected even if you use some of the listed testing techniques. Unfortunately, these leaks can cause extensive and expensive damage if left unattended. The good news is that some signs can give you clues about possible leakage in your plumbing system.

Here are the signs of leaking water pipes to watch out for in your plumbing system.

  • Bulging wallpaper paint: Take a look at your walls. If your wallpaper is bulging or your paint job has bubbles, it’s likely a sign that there is water on your wallboard and the wallpaper or paint can’t stick properly.
  • Wall and ceiling discoloration: Any discoloration on the wall indicates water leaking from behind it and soaking to the front side. These stains are usually brown or yellow.
  • Dripping sound: While certain leaks can go undetected without making a sound, other leaks produce a dripping sound, making them easy to detect. 
  • Musty smell: Persistent leaks increase humidity levels which can encourage mildew and mold to grow in your walls or ceiling. If you start noticing any musty smells in your home, it may be a sign of a leak in your pipes.  

J. Blanton Plumbing is ready to help.

Now that you know how to test water pipes for leaks, never let the devastating impacts of water leaks catch you unaware. Always track your water bills and read your meter to make sure nothing unusual comes up. A leak detector can also be helpful in vulnerable parts of your plumbing system. 

If you do detect a leak, let professional plumbers at J. Blanton help you fix it. Contact us today to report an issue with your plumbing system, and we’ll repair it promptly.