How To Detect Leaky Pipes

How To Detect Leaky Pipes
crawfordmech August 8, 2016

Nearly everyone can find a leaky pipe when there’s an annoying drip in the night or a big puddle under the sink. But some leaks aren’t as easy to find. Hidden leaks in your pipes take a little more detective work to identify. Follow these tips to locate leaky pipes lurking in your walls or other out-of-the-way locations.


Your floors can alert you to plumbing leaks in several ways. Watch for these signs that there is water damage under your flooring:

  • Spongy Floors: This is most common around the toilet, bathtub or laundry areas, but you might find spongy floors in other places. The surface of the floor typically looks fine, but when you step on the flooring you will feel the sub floor give slightly. It may feel a bit like walking on soggy grass when water is trapped beneath. The water from the leaky pipe has soaked into the wood and makes it feel spongy.
  • Loose Tiles: Sometimes water beneath the tiles will dissolve the adhesive and cause your floor tiles to loosen. If you notice loose tiles in your bathroom or laundry room, or even around the dishwasher, there is a good possibility you are dealing with a water leak. Remove the tile and check for moisture in the sub flooring.
  • Cracked or Buckled Tiles: Sometimes tiles crack or buckle instead of loosening. If you notice cracked or buckled tiles around the tub, shower or toilet, it’s time to check for water leaks.


Your walls may alert you when a pipe in the walls, or from the bathroom above, springs a leak. Looks for these signs that moisture is present:

  • Staining: Water stains typically look darker than the surrounding wall and tend to radiate from one point. They may begin as small discolored areas and spread to a larger area over time.
  • Mold or Mildew: Excess moisture provides the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. While it is often located at the bottom of the wall and spreads upward (if the source of water is at the baseboards) this isn’t always the case. Mold and mildew can form anywhere on the wall if a pipe springs a leak and soaks the wall.
  • Warping or cracking: When drywall is exposed to moisture it swells, which causes it to warp out of shape or crack. It may even begin to crumble. If you notice warps or cracks, moisture from a leaky pipe is likely the culprit.


Leaky pipes that affect the ceiling can cause both an unsightly mess and a potentially dangerous situation. As the drywall swells and cracks, the collected water may spill through the cracks and leak into your room. The force of the water may also cause large chunks of drywall to fall. If you notice water stains or small cracks in your ceiling, call a professional plumber right away to avoid further damage or injury.

If you notice any of these signs of a leaky pipe, check the pipes closest to that location. If you aren’t up to troubleshooting it on your own, contact Crawford Mechanical Services today. We can assess the situation and take care of the problem for you. We also provide 24-hour emergency plumbing services.

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