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Some plumbing problems are obvious. Issues like clogged toilets, slow drains, and broken water heaters are hard to ignore. Other plumbing problems, like leaks, can be much more elusive. They can develop out of sight, in walls, floors, and ceilings, persisting for some time—and causing damage—before they’re noticed.

To make sure you don’t overlook a leak, here are some common warning signs of water leaks in homes.

1. INCREASE IN YOUR WATER BILL

Have your water bills suddenly spiked? If so, you could have a leak somewhere in your home. To make sure the spike isn’t due to a seasonal change, compare your current water bills to those from the same month last year.

2. WATER METER CONTINUOUSLY TICKING

Is your water meter continuously running even though you’re not using water in or outside of your home? This is another red flag that you could have a leak.

3. MOLD & MILDEW

Leaks often cause damp spots on floors, walls, and/or ceilings. These damp spots can give rise to mold and the musty odors that come with it. If you find that you have a musty smell around the home, regardless of how often you clean your home, you may have a leaking pipe.

4. FOUNDATION CRACKS

As your home settles over time, cracks can start to develop in various places. If, however, you begin to notice foundation cracks suddenly developing, you could have a leak. The water that continually seeps out of your pipes can weaken a home’s structural components, which can cause cracks in the foundation, walls, and other areas.

5. WET SPOTS

Visually inspect the area near sinks, tubs, and toilets. Do you see wet spots? Or is the floor around these plumbing features discolored? If so, take it as a warning sign that you could have a leaking pipe.

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