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Signs of a Water Leak Inside a Wall

Sometimes the signs of a water leak are obvious; water pooling under an appliance or gushing from a broken pipe in the basement. This makes it easy to find the leak and repair the problem quickly.

Unfortunately, not every situation is so noticeable, such as when water is leaking from a wall. Usually, people don’t notice there’s a problem until after the damage has already occurred. No matter how the leak happens, it’s vital to act fast to find and repair the problem before things get worse. Follow these tips to learn how to find a water leak inside a wall.

How to Find Water Leaks Inside the Walls

You may not see puddles of water, but you’ll see other physical evidence. Learning how to find where a leak is coming from is easy when you know the warning signs. Look for clues like these:

  • Musty smells: When water leaks, it gets absorbed by any nearby porous surface, such as drywall, wood, and insulation. Over time, mold will begin to grow, which gives off a distinctive musty smell. If you smell something musty only in a certain part of a room, particularly near a wall, there may be a water leak.
  • Visible stains: As water leaks and is absorbed into surfaces, it also discolors them. If the stain continues to grow, you’ll know it’s an active leak, not a one-time spill.
  • Peeling wallpaper or paint: As surfaces become soaked, wall coverings like paint or wallpaper will begin to bubble and peel, especially at seams.
  • Warped walls: If the leak goes on long enough, drywall will become waterlogged and begin to buckle and warp. This can affect the floors and ceilings if they are connected.
  • Testing for a Water Leak

    These signs usually point to a water leak, but the best way to know for sure is to conduct a water test. Fortunately, it’s free and you can do it yourself. All you need is time and a little math.

  • Turn off all the faucets in your home, as well as any appliances that use water.
  • Record the number on your water meter and wait 3 hours.
  • Check the number on the meter again and compare it to the previous number.
  • If there’s a discrepancy, there’s a water leak somewhere in the building.
  • This type of water leak is best left to a professional, who has the experience and knows how to stop water leakage from behind a wall. Unlike fixing a pipe under a sink, repairing a shower pipe that’s leaking behind the wall, for example, involves removing wet drywall, dealing with the possibility of moldy building materials, and drying the affected area before repairing the leak.

    Afterward, the insulation, drywall, and paint, tile, or wallpaper must be replaced. This kind of work is usually beyond the capability of most people, even with the help of online videos. It’s worth the price to save time and have the peace of mind and warranty that comes with using a professional company.

    Professional Water Damage Cleanup

    No matter what type of water damage you experience in your home or business in the Dallas and Garland, TX area, ServiceMaster of North Texas knows it’s important to clean it up, fast. That’s why we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and will respond within 2-3 hours of your initial call to assess the situation, extract the water, and set up our drying equipment to mitigate the damage.

    The longer you wait to call, the more items will become damaged, possibly beyond repair. All of our technicians are IICRC-certified and will work with you to develop a water restoration plan that will remove excess water and restore damaged items before dangerous mold can start to grow.

    Water restoration costs vary, depending on the extent of the damage, the presence of mold, and the number of items that need to be restored. According to, the national average to repair a wall is $667. The national average to repair water damage is $2,581. The national average to remove standing water is $2,869. The national average to test for mold is $673.