Home Improvement Knowledge

7 Hidden Signs of Water Damage in Your Home

Whether it’s from plumbing, weather, or faulty appliances, eventually, every homeowner copes with water damage. But not all leaks are as obvious as an overflowing tub. Sometimes high humidity and small leaks lead to hidden water damage. Over time, the moisture leads to mold growth and structural issues requiring costly repairs. To make sure your house is free from leaks and mold, inspect it for subtle signs of water damage. Look for these signs of leaks.

7 Hidden Signs of Water Damage in Your Home

If you recognize the signs, you can identify and correct small leaks before they require extensive repairs.

Peeling Paint or wallpaper

If drywall gets wet, paint loosens, cracks and peels. Flaking paint or peeling wallpaper are common indicators of hidden leaks.

Bulging Ceilings and Walls

Leaks from plumbing or appliances can saturate drywall and cause it to droop or sag. This is a potential safety hazard because wet ceilings can collapse.

Musty Odor

Damp conditions cause bacteria and mold to grow. A musty, earthy smell is a sign of water damage, even if you can’t see any mold. To eliminate the odor, you’ll need to find and repair the source of the moisture.

Mold Growth

Microscopic mold spores are in the air both indoors and outside. Mold spores grow when they land on wet surfaces. Moisture control is key to controlling mold because it can’t grow in dry conditions. Once you have eliminated the source of water, you can clean mold with household cleaners. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring professionals to clean a moldy area larger than 10 square feet.


Water stains on ceilings or drywall are a sign of a leak. It could be from leaky pipes, a window that lets in rain, or a roof leak. Before painting over the stain, find and repair the source of the leak.

Increased Water Bill

One way plumbing leaks reveal themselves is through an unexplained increase in the water bill. To test your water usage, read your water meter, then don’t use any water for two hours. Check your meter after this period. If the reading is not the same, you probably have a leak.

Water Leaks Beneath the Sink

Check beneath the sink for signs of leaks. If you see water damage, empty the cabinets and run the water. This will help you test the drain lines, a frequent source of kitchen leaks.

What to do if You Find a Leak

If you find a leak in your home, you’ll need to act fast to prevent any damage from spreading. Locate the source of the leak, if possible. For a plumbing leak, turn off the water in that area. Check your insurance to see if your homeowner policy covers leaks. Most standard home insurance covers water damage from sources inside your home, like plumbing, but not water from outside your home, such as floods.

Exposure to mold can be hazardous, so consider calling a professional water restoration company to handle the cleanup and repairs. For example, SERVPRO’s water restoration specialists manage water damage for homes and businesses. 

Their process begins with using pumps and dehumidifiers to remove water. They remove porous materials exposed to molds, such as drywall, carpet, and ceiling tiles. The next step is to clean, sanitize and deodorize floors, furniture and belongings. To restore your home to its original condition, restoration specialists manage any necessary repairs and construction.

Check Your Home for Water Damage

Homeowners realize that big events, like a flooded basement, cause water damage in the home. But sometimes a small leak creates hidden damage. Use these tips to check your home for common signs of water damage. If you uncover leaks, act quickly. Check your homeowners’ insurance and work with professionals to clean up and restore your home.

Join The Discussion