Become a Home Detective – Find Hidden Leaks in Your Home

You don’t have to be a water damage restoration expert from Mammoth to know that if a tree falls on your roof in a storm, you will have water damage. If your 5 year-old leaves the water running in the bathtub overnight, you will have water damage. If mice move in and chew through a water supply line in your laundry room, you will have water damage. 

However, many of the home insurance claims are due to plumbing leaks deep inside your Columbus home. Put on your Sherlock Holmes detective hat and start investigating. 

Look for Evidence

Pick a time of the day when the house will be quiet. Check your water meter and write down the reading, (or take a photo of it with your phone.) Now, go back to the living room and get to work! Watch a detective show or two: Inspector Gadget, “Murder She Wrote”, or Magnum P.I. After your T.V. hero solves the crime, go visit the water meter again. If the reading isn’t exactly the same as it was two hours before, you have a plumbing leak somewhere in your home. Now you need to locate it before it can cause water damage. 

Bring a flashlight, some paper towels and an exaggeratedly large magnifying glass (if you have one.)

Bath Rooms

Splash leaks are simply water escaping past a shower curtain or a shower door, causing major damage to the subfloor where flooring meets the tub or shower. Before long the vinyl flooring or tiles begin to loosen. Even worse, the plywood subfloor delaminates and rots, requiring a huge, expensive tearout and replacement project.

Look for: curling vinyl flooring, loose tiles next to the tub, peeling paint or mold. If you use a curtain, look for standing water on the floor after you shower.

Tile leaks occur when water seeps through deteriorating grout or caulk and gets into the wall behind the tile and foster mold. Sink rim leaks allow water to seep under the rim or the base of the faucet, destroying cabinets and countertops.

If you see water seeping out around the base of the toilet, come across loose or damaged flooring it is a bad sign. Furthermore, if you find stains on the ceiling below and feel the toilet rock slightly when you push against it, it will eventually break the wax seal between the toilet and the closet flange. This “toilet flange leak” where the toilet meets the waste pipe below. This allows water to seep out at every flush, which will wreck flooring, rot the subfloor and joists, and damage the ceiling below. 


This step is mandatory, you must inspect every inch of the cabinet under the sink. This super busy area of your home is the control center for cooking and cleaning. Loose or damaged flooring in front of the sink is a red flag; so is a dank, unexplained smell. Drain leaks in kitchen sinks usually occur at the drain or at the slip joints in the drainpipe. 

Remove EVERYTHING; check for signs of water or rust on every bottle, box, and tool. While it is empty, wipe it with a dry paper towel to check for moisture. Next, take another paper towel and place it on the surface under the all the piping. Now put the sink to a test. Run hot water, cold water and then the disposal. Run the dishwasher; they drain out through the same pipes. Now recheck the paper towel for drips. 

Keep moving through the kitchen looking for peeling paint, curling floors, or stained wood trim. The dishwasher door seal can get dry and cracked. The supply line or seals for the icemaker can fail, any cooking appliances can leak:  coffemaker, ricecooker, blender. 

Laundry Rooms

Since you seldom wait around while your washer works, your washing machine could secretly be leaking every time you run it. This time, run a load and observe the connections to the walls (the most common source of leaks.) Double check that the drain pan, the shallow plastic tub under the machine) is bone dry after the final spin cycle.  

Partner With Mammoth

If you discover any clues or evidence of leaks, get a professional water damage team in to repair the damage and prevent more problems. When it comes to property damage restoration and cleaning, you need a team that understands what you’re going through. Mammoth is Ohio’s and West Virginia’s leading expert in water, fire and smoke damage. Contact us for more information on how we can help you recover from water damage and restore your life back to normal.

Tags: , ,