5 Tips to Find Plumbing Leaks in Homes That Have Been Vacant for a While

If you are moving into a home that has been vacant for a while or if you've recently purchased a vacant home at auction, you need to check for damage in several areas. In particular, you need to make sure that the plumbing isn't leaking. There are a few steps in the process:

1. Look for Water Stains or Puddles

If the water in the home has been off for a while, you may want to look for water stains in the home. Watermarks on ceilings, floors or walls could indicate that the plumbing near these areas has leaked in the past. Get into those spaces and check the pipes for damage.

If the water has not been turned off, you may see puddles. Also, investigate for damaged pipes in those areas.

2. Turn Off All Taps and Check the Meter

If you don't see any visible signs of plumbing issues, there is another way to look for a leak. Make sure the water to the home is on. Then, make sure that all the taps are completely off and that the toilets aren't running. Go look at the water meter. The meter should be still. If it is registering that water is running, you have a leak somewhere.

3. Go Through Your Home Listening

Leave the water on, and go through the home listening carefully. Typically, a leak in the pipes is going to sound like running water or like a soft hissing. It just depends on how big the leak is. If you hear that sound, it's usually going to be coming from behind a wall or ceiling. Again, you need to get in these areas to investigate.

4. Turn Off the Water

Once you've found your leak, you need to turn off the water going to that area. For instance, if the pipe leading to a sink or a toilet is leaking, there's usually a small tap in that area that you can use to shut off the water in that place. Otherwise, you need to turn off the water to the entire home. There's typically a valve near the home, or your water supplier may have to turn off the water on the valve that connects your home to the municipal water supply.

5. Repair

Now that you've located the leak and turned off the water, it's time to repair the plumbing. Depending on your interest levels and the extent of the damage, you may be able to repair it yourself with a bit of pipe and some plumber's caulk. Alternatively, it's time to contact a plumber. You may want to look for an emergency plumber so you can get fast service.