Water is certainly refreshing as we can’t do without it but it can quickly become an enemy, especially when it gets into places that it shouldn’t be. We all need water for our homes, except that it has to be contained in a sink, tub, or pipe. Otherwise, it could potentially cause a lot of damage.

Sadly, pipe leaks are quite common even in new houses. You will likely experience a leak from one of your drains. Also, some leaks are not obvious which is worse because they can destroy your property before you even find out about it. It’s extremely important to catch and take care of a leak as soon as you notice it. 

Not all homeowners know how to detect leaks but this article will show you how to do so in detail. You no longer have to worry about getting your property damaged by leakages as you’ll know how to quickly locate and repair leaks when they occur.

Leak Detection Methods

Here are some effective ways to detect leaks in your drainage system:

Check Your Water Bill

Your monthly water bills can be predicted so if you get a strangely higher bill than-and you’re sure you’ve been preserving water-it means you have a leak. 

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that every family of four uses a maximum of 12,000 gallons per month, except in the summer if you have a lawn or garden to tend to. 

A small leak, such as a steady dripping faucet can amount to as much as 10,000 gallons of water per year. So, monitoring  your water bill is a good practice.

Keep an Eye on Your Water Meter

Checking your water meter will let you know for sure if you suspect a leak in your pipes. You can find the meter under a manhole-type cover near your street or (in places where temperatures don’t go below freezing) beside or behind your house, close to where your water supply line passes through the house. Take the following steps to check your meter:

  • Switch off all the water faucets in your house and turn off the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Check the meter and note the numbers you see. Check the meter again after an hour. If there are any changes in the numbers then it means you’ve sprung a leak.
  • You can also check if the leak is inside your house or outside (only for houses that have meters outside). To do this, switch off the shut-off valve on your home’s major water supply line. You can find this in the basement or the utility room where the water line enters your home.
  • Look at the water meter, take down the numbers, and wait for another hour. If the numbers don’t change, it means the leak is inside your home. If the numbers change, it means the leak is in your underground water line. 

Look for Patches of Greener Grass

Who doesn’t want a beautiful, lush lawn? We all do but if you notice that a part of your lawn grows faster and is a lot greener than the rest of your lawn, it could be the location of the underground water line leak. You can tell if it’s a big leak by the puddles on the ground.

Check Your Appliances and Fixtures

When you discover that the leak is in your home through your water meter, look at the cabinets under your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry sinks to ensure they’re dry. You’ll also need to check for puddles around your bathtub, shower, toilet, dishwasher, washing machine, and water heater. If you see any puddles, switch off the water supply valve to that gadget or fixture and send for a plumber.

Dye Test the Toilet

If there are no puddles around your appliances or fixtures, check if your toilet needs fixing as it’s a usual spot for interior leaks. 

The toilet’s flapper (the rubber plug that prevents water from getting into the toilet bowl until you flush it) can become fragile over time, letting water flow from the tank into the toilet bowl. 

Get some food coloring and pour a few drops in all your toilet tanks. If any tank leaks, you will see a color in the bowl within five minutes. If this happens, call a plumbing service but if you’re handy, you can change the flapper yourself.

Be Watchful for Leaking Clues

When a fitting on your water supply line beneath your kitchen sink breaks and sprays water, you know exactly where the problem is. But, some leaks are not that obvious. Sometimes, water may trickle from pipe fittings inside a wall and go without being noticed until severe damage is done.

Even if you check your water meter and it doesn’t indicate any leak, you might have one develop at any time so here are some things you need to look out for:

Wall discoloration.

This could be a sign of water leaks behind the drywall and seeping into the front side. You can tell water stains on ceilings and walls by their yellow or brown color.

Bubbling paint or bulging wallpaper. 

These are signs that your water board is wet and the wallpaper or paint isn’t holding tightly anymore. Sometimes, you may see a welt in the wallboard which shows that the damage is more severe and you will have to get a new wallboard.

A dripping sound. 

Although some leaks are silent, you can hear other leaks that will enable you to pinpoint where they’re coming from. 

A musty smell. 

Over time, a steady can provide the perfect moist environment for the growth of mold. Sometimes, you may observe black spots on the outside wall, although, mold usually grows inside the wall where you can’t detect it. So, a musty smell is a sure sign of a leak.


All these are good indicators of potential leaks, but remember that not all water leaks will require plumbing services to fix. Some leaks are caused by water coming from your roof or around a window. Either way, it’s best to attend to leaks immediately to prevent water damage.

Speak With Your Local Sewer Repair in Seattle

We are dedicated to serving all of our customers’ sewer-related requirements here at NW Sewer & Drain. You can reach out to us today at office@nwsewer.com

We’re excited to help you sort out any drain issues you might be facing in your home or office building. Ideally, consulting an experienced local sewer and drain cleaning company should be your following line of action if you are experiencing slow-moving drains, foul odor, or clogged drains in your home and need help figuring out what else to do. 

At N.W. Sewer & Drain, we have a well-trained and ready-to-move team on standby. We serve the Seattle metropolitan area, including Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Renton, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Auburn, Everett, Marysville, Mount Vernon, and other surrounding areas. 

N.W. Sewer & Drain provides top-notch drain cleaning and sewer repair services in the greater Seattle area, and we’ve been in the business for nearly 20 years. Contact us today at 206-931-7728 to schedule an inspection of your sewer line and pipes.


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