A leak coming through a wall inside a house can be a source of serious stress for a homeowner. This is especially the case when the source of the leak is unknown.
The damage you can see is bad enough, but what about the damage you can’t see? Water seeping through walls conjures images of bigger and worse things going on behind them, something that can be difficult and expensive to remedy.
If you see or suspect seeping water or damage from it, you might need to contact plumbers like Four Seasons Plumbing, who actively service Black Mountain, NC, or elsewhere in the Asheville area. On the other hand, there are some steps you might be able to take yourself first, and there are ways to try to prevent these problems in the first place.
Recognize the Signs
At their most minor, leaks result from pinholes in piping, something that just needs some tightening or small failures in caulking. Whatever the cause, since water always seeks the path of least resistance, it will often trickle down walls as the straightest path to the surface.
Step one of addressing a leak is knowing that one exists. Some of the signs are obvious, and some are less so. Look for the following:
Drywall that’s wet or discolored
Water stains on trim
Drips from the ceiling or puddles on the floor
Mold and mildew, musty odors
What’s Causing the Leak?
Identifying when a leak is present is the easy part. The next part, figuring out what’s going on, can be more challenging. There are three main areas to check:
Interior plumbing. Since you can’t easily see most of your interior plumbing, you’ll need to check it in a different way. After turning off all faucets and appliances that use water, check the water meter and take note of the number it’s showing. Check it again after waiting at least three hours (and not using water). If the meter is showing an increase in water usage, that’s a strong sign that there’s a leak somewhere in your interior plumbing.
Exterior above issues. If you’ve ruled out your interior plumbing, check out higher places on the exterior. Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to backups that result in leaks. Faulty caulking can allow water to penetrate. Also, check the flashing on chimneys, doors, vents, and windows for spots where water is getting through.
Exterior below issues. If the leak is not coming from the interior plumbing and it seems to be coming from somewhere lower, check exterior features such as sprinkler pipes for leaks. Additionally, see if there are drainage problems beneath downspouts. Also, look for grading or French drains that slope toward the house.
Ways to Repair Leaks
Now comes the all-important step of stopping and repairing the leak. Some tasks may be easy and suitable as DIY projects, but for harder fixes or if there are safety concerns, it’s better to seek assistance from a professional plumber.
Interior plumbing fixes: A leak in the plumbing inside walls requires cutting the wall open, finding the exact spot where the leak is occurring, fixing it, patching the wall, and then sanding, priming, and repainting it. Most people don’t have the equipment and experience for this, so hiring a pro is best.
Exterior above fixes: Make regular inspections of your gutters and downspouts, especially in times of the year when they collect more debris (in autumn when leaves are falling). Clean your gutters and downspouts once or twice a year and ensure the drainage goes away from the house. For bad caulking, scrape out the old stuff and apply new caulking to make a better seal. Repairing or replacing flashing may require a professional due to the height and the pitch of the roof or other locations.
Exterior below fixes: If a section of sprinkler piping needs replacing and you can’t do that, just call the company that installed the system. On your own, you may be able to adjust downspouts that aren’t draining properly or add extenders. When grading is a problem, this is a serious job that may also require permits, so call a professional. For waterproofing your basement, it’s best to call a professional for that as well.
How To Prevent Leaks
Whether the goal is to prevent leaks or prevent them from happening again following a repair, there are a number of things you can do or have done by a professional service:
Clean out gutters and downspouts 1-2 times per year.
Inspect exterior caulking a few times a year and replace it as needed.
Before winter, blow out your sprinkler system.
Check for missing roof shingles and replace any that are missing.
Inspect your sump pump. Also, add a battery backup in case power goes out during a storm.
Keep water pressure between 40 and 60 PSI
Add insulation to pipes on exterior walls during the year’s colder months.
Inspect the drainage systems around your home to see if water is always going away from the house.
Four Seasons Plumbing: Service and Repairs You Can Count On
Water seeping through walls is never a welcome sight; when it happens, you must address the problem immediately. Because the work can be difficult and messy, it’s usually best to call a pro.
Four Seasons Plumbing is an Asheville region-leading plumbing service with years of experience and a friendly, family-owned background. We’re also fully licensed and insured, so you can know you’re in good hands when you let us in. Our mission is to deliver professional, reliable service that gets things back to how they should be as soon as possible.
Sometimes a repair for water seepage can’t or shouldn’t wait. When you need emergency plumbing services in Asheville, Black Mountain, or anywhere else in the Asheville, NC, area, Four Seasons Plumbing is always there for you.