Water Leaks 101: What To Do if It Happens to You


Experiencing a home water leak is a stressful event. While many people envision a dramatic scene with burst pipes and a foot of water in the basement, a real leak is often much more subtle and insidious.

If you’re concerned about water leaking in your home, here are the signs to watch for and what to do next.

Know the Signs of a Leak

First, learn the signs of a water leak. Many water leaks are undetectable to the naked eye, as your pipes are in the walls, floors and ceilings of your home. Rather than finding a big puddle of water, you’re more likely to first notice discoloration or a foul odor.

One of the most telling signs of a leak is ceiling or wall discoloration. You may also notice paint or wallpaper bubbling or a spongy sensation when you touch the wall. These are all signs of a small but severe water leak.

Alternatively, you might hear dripping sounds in the wall or notice a mildew smell. Other signs that something is amiss could be a new green patch of grass in your yard, or a spiking water bill for no apparent reason.

Turn Off the Main Water Supply

When you notice the signs of a water leak, even if you haven’t found the cause, your first step is to turn off the main water supply to the house. This step is especially important if you have a significant, noticeable leak.

If you’re in an apartment or rental where you don’t have access to the main water supply, call your landlord or superintendent right away.

Look for Hazards

Next, be mindful of hazards. If you have water on the floor or walls, look for signs of interaction with your electrical system. If an outlet or electronic device is sitting in water, do not go in the room. Instead, turn off the power supply if possible and ensure everyone stays out until an electrician and plumber can take a look.

If you’re able to move things that could be damaged by the water, try to do so to prevent further expenses.

Call a Plumber

Call a plumber as soon as you notice a potential leak. According to I Need The Plumber & Air Conditioning leak repair in Port St. Lucie, it’s best to have someone else handle shutting off the water and power while you do this. If you’re alone, consider putting the phone on speaker while you get everything secured.

Many plumbers offer an emergency repair service. If they don’t, ask what steps you should take in the meantime.

Document the Damage

Before you clean everything up, snap some pictures of the damage. If you can photograph the source of the leak, that’s also helpful. These photos will help you communicate with the plumber and keep accurate records should you need to file an insurance claim.

Renters should also follow these steps to prevent issues getting their security deposit back.

Clean and Dry Everything

Once everything is documented and it’s safe to enter the space, get everything cleaned and dried up. Pay close attention to the floor, using towels as needed. Water can be particularly damaging to laminate and click-tile and could leak through to the floor below.

Open windows to help with airflow, and turn on fans and a dehumidifier if you can.

Clarify Your Insurance

If you have a small leak that does minimal damage, it’s likely not worth the effort of putting everything through insurance. However, if you experience a dramatic burst pipe and flood, or the leak goes undetected for a while, you may want to file a claim.

Most basic home insurance policies don’t include flood and water damage coverage — that’s an extra add-on. It’s important to take a closer look at your policy and determine whether you have the coverage you need.

Checking your insurance policy and knowing the signs of a water leak are the first steps in preventing costly damage and destruction. Remember to prioritize safety and call an expert as soon as possible when a leak occurs.