How to Know if Pipes Under the House Are Leaking


Water pipes hold moving water under pressure. A leak raises your water bill and can damage or destroy your home. Most leaks occur at faucets, valves or exposed pipes inside of the home. These leaks can be seen and dealt with quickly. Other pipes are hidden from view. A leak in these pipes means searching the entire water supply system to locate the faulty pipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Flashlight
  • Long, sturdy screwdriver
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Inspect the pipes under the floor from the basement or crawlspace. Shine a flashlight onto the pipes and run your hand along the length of each one to locate a leak.

  • Turn on each faucet in the house one at a time. Watch for sputtering water flow caused by air in the pipes.

  • Shut off all of the faucets and the main water valve inside of the house. Check each one to make sure the valve is off and there is not a leak at any of those locations.

  • Slide a screwdriver into the small hole in the manhole access cover covering the water meter outside your home. Press down on the screwdriver handle to lift the cover. Remove the cover from the manhole.

  • Watch the water meter for 10 to 15 minutes. Movement of the meter indicates a leak in the pipes.

Tips & Warnings

  • Damp or water-stained floors, ceilings and walls as well as the presence of mold may indicate a leak in water pipes. Investigate each of these symptoms to locate its cause.
  • Work gloves and safety glasses are required when working with potentially weak water lines. These pipes are under pressure. Pulling on a weak pipe can cause a rupture that may damage your home or cause injury to you.

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  • Photo Credit Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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