Most water leaks are fairly easy to pinpoint, since you will see water coming directly out of the pipe itself and you may also notice a hole or break in the pipe. However, when one of the water pipes in your wall springs a leak, it may not be so apparent where the leak actually is. It can be quite difficult to locate it. However, you should try to find the leak as quickly as possible or your home may develop some black mold and mildew issues. Locating the leak takes some time, so read through the tips below so you have a better handle on locating it.
Look For Water Damage Signs
The first thing you should do to find your water leak is to identify the signs of water damage. As you investigate the signs, you will notice more and more damage as you get closer to the leak itself. Some of the signs to look for include a spongy floor. Use your foot to press on the floor near where you noticed leaking water. As you notice more spring in the floor, you will be inching closer to the leak.
Once you identify the give in the floor, use your hands to press on the drywall. You will notice a similar spongy feeling and the wall will likely feel wet and cold. You will feel the most moisture and cold sensations as you get close to the plumbing leak. Mark the spot on the wall where you think it is the most wet, cold, and spongy.
If you have a hard time locating an area that seems moist, then you can look for signs of deteriorating drywall. As the walls become wet, the drywall will wrinkle and look bumpy in areas. Large "bubbles" or protrusions may be seen as well. These are the areas where the wall has absorbed the most water and has expanded.
Cut Open The Wall
Once you find the spot where the wall is most damaged, you will need to cut an opening in it to gain access to the water supply pipes. Start by locating the studs on either side of the damaged area and mark on the wall with a pencil. You want to draw two straight horizontal line between the studs. Connect these lines with two vertical ones to create a box. Prepare your drill with a large bit, like a five-eighths inch variety, and create four holes. The holes should be placed in each corner of the drawn box.
Once the holes are formed, use a drywall saw to cut out the drywall using your drawn marks as a reference. Release the drywall from the opening when you are done.
Once you have gained access to the wall, the plumbing leak should be fairly close, use a flashlight to look inside the wall to look for it. You can make the repair by replacing the pipe or by adding a patch to it. If you are not comfortable making a repair, then speak with a plumber who can assist you.
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