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How To Detect Hidden Plumbing Leaks In Your Home

We rely heavily on our intricate home plumbing system every single day; from using the toilets to washing our clothes and ourselves. 

In summer our water consumption tends to increase, as we rely on our irrigation systems to keep our gardens healthy, use our outdoor taps and hoses to fill up our pools and hop in the shower to wash off the sweat after a long hot day at work or a visit to the beach.

Your plumbing may also be getting an extra work out if you have visitors staying in your home during the festive season, so preventative maintenance checks are especially important at this time of year. 

With so much use, it is only a matter of time before wear and tear gets the better of your system. Water leaks are a common occurrence, but not all are as obvious as a leaking tap or a burst sprinkler head. 

Leaks can occur anywhere in your home, including all of the toilets, sinks, drains, bathtubs and showers. Aside from adding costs to your water bill, each drop of water lost from your pipes can cause damage to both your home and health. 

Rot, flooding, decay, water stains, warped ceilings and the growth of mould/mildew are synonymous with unchecked water leaks. 

Our Perth plumbers share their leak detection techniques you can use in your home to ensure your plumbing is leak-free. 

Kitchen Plumbing Leaks

Leaks in the kitchen are most often found around the sinks and among the supply pipes at the base of the basins. Examine the benchtop surrounding your sink for water damage; affected areas will be dark, swollen and spongy if you have a laminate countertop.

Take a look inside the cabinet for dampness, water puddles and any signs of rot which may point to a hidden plumbing leaks. 

Check where the tap joins to the counter and ensure it is not loose. As this area is constantly being splashed by water, it can come loose at the joint over time, which can allow water to seep into the area below. 

If your kitchen is located on the upper level of a two-story home, it is wise to keep an eye on the ceiling below for any signs of wetness, or dried water stains. If your ceiling appears warped or out of shape, this can also be an indication you may have a leak in your kitchen which is slowly seeping through the floor and eventually the ceiling underneath. 

To test the water supply and drainage pipes, simply run over them with a dry cloth as the sink drains – especially around joins and the shutoff valve. Areas affected by a leak will become apparent by leaving a mark on the cloth. 

Another important check to make is the condition of your flexible hose, as these have a limited working life and are one of the main causes of home insurance claims. 

The first element to break is usually the braided steel lining, which allows the rubber tube lining to expand and eventually burst. 

When the hose is breached, it can expel a large volume of water in a short period of time; as much as 1500L an hour.

Bathroom Leaks

With so many water using fixtures located in the bathroom, it is a prime location for water leaks to occur. Keep an eye out for loose tiles, as water seepage can cause the grout or caulk holding them fast to the wall to deteriorate. It is also important to observe the paint and wallpaper on the walls shared with rooms adjacent to the bathroom for signs of peeling or bubbling. 

A build up of mould or mildew is another clear sign you may be dealing with a leak – especially when it is growing near bathtubs, under the sink or near the shower. If you are noticing the mould returning to the same spot each time, it is time to call a plumber in Perth. 

Caulk can shrink and shift over time, so check the space between the tub and floor or wall for gaps in the sealant. Also check for warm and wet spots on the flooring and walls nearby.  

Leaking Toilets

Toilets are a common culprit of household leaks and can be difficult to detect. The leading cause of a leaking toilet is an ineffective flush valve system, when the watertight seal at the bottom of the tank – the flapper – has begun to deteriorate, allowing water to run from the toilet tank into bowl. 

Toilet leaks can also be the result of a faulty fill valve, causing a continuous flow of water to breach the overflow tube. This could be due to the shut-off valve failing to close or the float sitting too high. 

There are some simple checks you can complete to determine whether your toilet is leaking, with a couple of drops of food colouring the only tool required. 

Exterior Pipes

Dripping taps outdoors can be easy to spot and fix, but the leaks that occur underground can be much more difficult to notice and solve. 

One indication can be puddles or damp spots on the ground which are out of place. 

Another clever, but simple way to detect leaks is to use a screwdriver as a stethoscope for your pipes. Put the metal tip of a screwdriver directly against the hose-bib on your tap and hold the top of the screwdriver with your thumb. 

Place your ear up to your thumb knuckle and you should be able to hear if water is running through the pipes despite the water being turned off. You can close in on the approximate location of the leak by using your screwdriver-stethoscope on each of your outdoor taps, and determine at which point the sound of the leak is loudest. 

Another quick check you can make is to lift the lid of your water meter and check inside. If it’s muddy or full of water, you have a problem. 

Use Your Water Meter 

To determine if your home has a leak somewhere in the system, there is a simple test you can complete using your water meter:

  • Turn off all taps and water using devices in your home, such as washing machines or dishwashers. 
  • Note down the red numbers on your water meter and wait at least 15 minutes to an hour. 
  • Check the numbers again once the time has elapsed. If the gauge has changed, you may have a leak in the system.
  • You can also use this handy tool from the Water Corporation to complete this test. 

Call In Your Local Plumber For Back Up

If you have detected a major leak, turn off the water to your property and call in your local Perth plumber. 

Our services extend from fixing leaky taps to detecting concealed burst pipes using specialist equipment. 

From burst copper pipes in the ground or wall to burst flexible hoses – our team has seen it all!

We can also assist with blocked drains, faulty hot water systems and emergency gas leak incidents.

With no call-out fees and obligation-free quotes, the Perth plumbers and gas fitters from No Probs Plumbing are prompt, reliable and provide cost-effective plumbing solutions. 

Looking for a plumber near me? Call in the team at No Probs Plumbing and Electrical on (08) 9315 5545 or send an email to