Whodunit? It was the leak that caused all of that damage, but where did it come from? Finding leaks in your home can seem like a very serious mystery. Where are those leaks hiding, and how can you ensure that you fix them and that they don’t happen again?
Look in the Garden
Do you have leaks waiting in your garden? No, we’re not talking about leeks. These leaks are caused by water that seeps in from the soil around your home. Often, gardens change over time, and they could change to make home leaks possible. For instance, a tree growing near the house could damage foundation drainage, leading to leaks. The soil could erode beside your home, and water would then pool near your home, leaking down into the foundation and causing soil instability that could lead to cracks in the foundation. As you look for leaks, consider how your home and garden work together.
Look From the Outside In
Next comes the exterior of your home: how does that contribute to leaks? Your roof and your siding are two of your lines of defense against water. If they are compromised, then the home system starts to fall apart. For example, you could have problems with:
- Poorly-secured flashing
- Loose roofing
- Siding that has insect or plant damage and rot
- Rot from poorly-installed windows or skylights
- Insecure structures, such as chimneys
- Gutters that are overflowing onto your foundation: replace these with seamless gutters and add gutter covers
Where Are Leaks Hiding in the Home?
Inside the home, you use water every day. Some of this water could leak slowly or quickly, causing rot, mold, and mildew inside the home. Common places where leaks hide inside the home include:
- Next to the tub or toilet, due to an improper seal
- In the walls, coming from the outside in
- In the insulation, hiding under the layers until you finally notice that the insulation is wet
- Around and under sinks
- In cracks. Any time there is a crack, whether it’s under a window or in the foundation, look for an accompanying leak.
- Around the water heater. According to the Family Handyman, “tank leaks often start slow and then suddenly burst days or weeks later, causing a major household flood.”
- In the washing machine supply hose
To find leaks, you can look in some of the potentially suspect areas above. You can also use tools to help you find areas with moisture, although this won’t tell you where the moisture is coming from. According to DIY Doctor, if you’re trying to pinpoint the leaks, “there are a number of tools available to help you with this, such as a surface thermometer or damp meter – these can also be useful if you’re not sure where all of the affected areas are.” You can put your hand on the walls and look for cool, damp areas, and you can look for water stains to give you a hint about current and past problem areas.