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water drips from a leaky faucet

Inventive DIY Strategies to Detect Hidden Leaks in Your Home

Water leaks may start small, but they can lead to major headaches like structural damage, mold growth, and astonishingly high utility bills. Traditional methods, like checking water meters and listening for running water sounds, are useful first steps, but sometimes leaks can still lurk undetected. To protect your home, get creative with some inventive strategies for uncovering hidden moisture issues.

Dye Testing Beyond the Toilet

Testing toilets with dye is a common way to check for leaks, but this technique can be used elsewhere too. A few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet in sinks, showers, and bathtubs allow you to test for leaks in drains and pipes. Simply run the colored water, then wait 20–30 minutes without using that fixture. If you notice the colored water seeping through, you’ve got a leak to address.

The Tissue Test

One low-tech but effective method is using tissue paper to detect moisture and condensation as signs of leaks. Strategically place pieces of tissue around pipe joints under sinks, near fixtures like toilets and faucets, and inside cabinets. Check back in 12–24 hours – any dampness or water stains on the tissue is a red flag that a leak could be present in that area.

Going High-Tech

For those wanting to go high-tech, moisture meters and thermal cameras can pinpoint leak locations with a high degree of accuracy. Moisture meters use sensor probes to detect moisture levels in surfaces like drywall or flooring. Thermal cameras show temperature differences, allowing you to see cooler areas where water may be present. While useful, these specialized tools require an investment.

Getting Creative With Household Items

With a little creativity, common household items can be repurposed to detect leaks. For example, lightly sprinkle flour onto surfaces like windowsills – any moisture will cause the flour to darken or clump. A plastic or paper cup can act as an inexpensive listening device when pressed against walls and floors to amplify running water sounds. Make use of whatever you have on hand.

When to Call the Pros

It may be time to call in professional leak detection services for persistent leaks that can’t be easily located. Plumbers have an arsenal of specialized tools and methods like smoke testing, video pipe inspection, and line tracing equipment to locate sources of moisture. Attempting major leak repairs without expertise can lead to even bigger issues, so know when to get the pros involved.

Get proactive and use these creative strategies to detect moisture issues early before they get out of hand. Finding and stopping leaks will save money on utility bills and thousands of gallons of wasted water. If you need help detecting leaks, the professionals at Carlson Plumbing in Fountain Valley, CA are ready to lend a hand. Our skilled plumbers use state-of-the-art equipment to locate leaks and stop further damage from happening.

Our team of licensed specialists are standing by to take your call!