Historically speaking, indoor plumbing isn’t that old. In the 1940s, a third of the American population didn’t have a flush toilet or hot water indoors. Today, we enjoy flush toilets and piping hot showers without giving it much thought. But what happens when the toilet won’t refill as fast, or the fast flow shower slows to a dribble all of a sudden?

You open your water bill, and YIKES! You know you didn’t take over 20,000 showers in 30 days. When a water bill suddenly skyrockets, leaks can be the culprit.

You might have a leak. Here are seven things to look for when your plumbing takes a turn. 

  1. You hear the DRIP. It’s consistent and annoying but not apparent to the naked eye. If you can locate the drip source (or running water where it shouldn’t be), look around the area where you hear the water.
  2. There’s a smell. And not just any smell. It’s that musty, earthy decomposing smell similar to that of rotting wood emanating from an unknown source. Mold tends to grow where there’s a pipe leak and can indicate a long-term problem with the plumbing system. 
  3. If there are visible stains on your floor, check the walls and ceiling around it to see if there’s a leak creating the stain. 
  4. You open your water bill, and YIKES! You know you didn’t take over 20,000 showers in 30 days. When a water bill suddenly skyrockets, leaks can be the culprit. 
  5. Check the water meter. Today’s water meters are highly intuitive and can instantly gauge a spike in water usage that may be out of the ordinary. The meter sends an alert about the leak but not the location. 
  6. Walking around your home, you see cracks in your foundation. Some of those cracks are normal aging, wear, and tear, but if a crack is near a pipe, err on the side of caution and check the pipe for a leak.
  7. If there is an odd bump of healthier, higher grass in your lawn, this can indicate a leak in one of your pipes from your house._

If you experience any of these problems, call a professional plumber to check your plumbing before the leak causes more damage. Minor leaks can lead to significant issues in the long run, costing you thousands of dollars in major home repair.