A plumbing leak that's hidden under your slab might go on for a long time without you noticing, but when a leak is behind a wall, you'll see signs of it before long, even if the leak is fairly small. Here are signs of a water leak behind a wall, how to locate the leak, and what type of plumbing repairs might be needed.
Signs That Water Is Leaking Behind A Wall
You might see paint bubbling, wallpaper bulging, and dark water stains on the wall when there's a plumbing leak. You might also notice water on the floor, a soggy carpet, or a musty odor. You could even see mold on the wall or notice an increase in roaches and other bugs.
Tools For Finding The Source Of The Water Leak
A water leak behind a wall is fairly obvious, but the source of the leak might be tricky to track down. You or a plumber might use a moisture meter to find areas behind the wall where moisture is the highest. You might also use a thermal camera that will show the entire damp area behind the wall. A plumber might even drill a hole in the wall and insert a camera to take a look around.
If the leak is a slow one, it might be difficult to detect since a drip will roll down a pipe before it falls off and hits the floor. If water is spraying out, the leak will be easier to pinpoint. Since it will be necessary to remove part of the wall to repair the pipe, the plumber may remove part of the wall to hunt for the leak. If the wall has water damage, it may be necessary to replace it anyway.
Repairs That Could Be Needed
Plumbing leaks are repaired in different ways depending on where the leak is located and what the pipe is made of. A pipe that has a single leak might be repaired by cutting out the damaged part of the pipe and putting in a new section by soldering it in place, as long as the pipe is made of copper. Plastic pipes might be cut and the new pipe joined with a fitting.
If the damage is widespread along the length of the pipe as might happen if a steel pipe is rusted, the entire pipe might need to be replaced. A plumber can find and fix the leak and then test the plumbing to make sure there are no other leaks. In the case of old, corroded plumbing, there could be other leaks you don't know about until the plumber finds them.