Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (2022)

By New Flow Plumbing Inc.|Published On: February 19th, 2021|Categories: Residential Plumbing, Sewer Systems|

  • Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (1)

Leaking Water Pipes

Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (2)

A leaking pipe in your wall could spell disaster for your home.

You have all sorts of pipes running through walls, ranging from water pipes, sewer pipes, and even gas connections.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to find out where those leaks are coming from, repair options, and the cost to repair the damage.

How to find a leaking water pipe in your wall

Use these methods to track down where a water leak may be coming from:

*If you notice a strange spike in your water bill but can’t seem to find any of the signs above, it may be a little more challenging to find the leak. Here are more secure ways of detecting the location and source of a leak.

(Video) Tracking Down Plumbing Leaks Inside Walls : Plumbing Repair
  • Check your water meter – Your home has a water meter that tracks the flow rate (how many gallons per minute are flowing through the meter) and how many gallons your family uses. Record the numbers you see, waiting at least 3 hours without using any water. Compare the numbers at the end, and if it has moved, you have a leak in your plumbing.

  • Use a moisture meter – Plumbers usually carry one of these with them, but you can rent or buy one from a hardware store. Point the device at your walls until you find the spot that gives the highest reading. That’s the point closest to the leak.

  • An infrared camera – An infrared camera cannot “see” moisture or water in your walls, but it detects coldness. When a water pipe is leaking, the camera will pick up the drop in temperature. Hot water pipes pop up as a heat source.

Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (3)

Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (4)

  • Cutting into drywall – The last resort. If there are visibly damaged areas on a wall or ceiling, cutting could be used to take a look around and see if you can find it. Keep in mind that signs of water damage don’t always mean that the leak is coming from that exact area. It could be just where the water has poured down to. Call the professionals before you take this drastic step.

    (Video) The ULTIMATE Leaky Copper Pipe Fix Guide | GOT2LEARN

How to find a leaking sewer pipe in your wall

Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (5)

Leaking sewer pipes can be found using the same methods above, except your sewer lines aren’t connected to your water meter, so that won’t help you. There are a few critical differences between a leaking sewer pipe and a leaking water pipe.

Sewer odor:

If you can smell sewage in your walls or home, that’s a sign a sewer pipe is leaking, exposing your home to disgusting fumes. If you find the wall where the smell is almost unbearable, that might be where the line is leaking.

Mold growth from humidity:

Just like a leaking water pipe, mold growth is a clear sign of moisture behind your walls. In this case, with a leaking sewer pipe, the increased humidity from the leak causes mold to grow just at the right temperatures.

Infestation:

Rodents and insects love to crawl and creep inside your sewer pipes when there is an opening. If you see signs of rats or other pests, think before you call the exterminator. The problem might be a nest somewhere, but it could be they are coming from your sewer lines. If that’s the case, call sewer line professionals.

Vapor test:

A vapor test can be performed where a non-toxic vapor is pumped through your sewer system from the vent openings on your roof. If there is a crack in the sewer pipes behind the wall, the vapor will fill the empty space behind the drywall and will make its way out of electrical outlets or other openings. Since a sewer system should be air-tight, any visible vapor inside your home would indicate a crack.

Read also – Signs of a cracked sewer pipe

How to find a leaking gas pipe in your wall

Gas lines usually run to an appliance, furnace, or fireplace. A leaking gas pipe is very dangerous to your health and safety. Look for these distinct signs.

You should also know where your gas shut-off valves are and how to operate them in case of an emergency.

(Video) FIX LEAKING COPPER PIPE - PINHOLES - Plumbing Tips

Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (6)

The valve could be located near your gas meter, before your first gas appliance, close to your furnace, or water heater.

Sulfur Odor:

Natural gas is mixed with a very strong-smelling sulfur compound, like rotten eggs. That is a vital sign that there is a leak nearby.

Sounds:

Propane gas is odorless and difficult to detect if it leaks. Listen for “hissing” sounds behind your walls. Call a professional if you cannot find the source. Gas leaks are severe and need to be handled as soon as possible.

Causes of leaking pipes in walls

Pipes may break for all sorts of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Backups – If you are flushing more than just human waste or toilet paper, your pipes begin to clog up. They are possibly building up near a joint, ruining the seal and allowing water to leak.

  • Rust – When exposed to water and oxygen, cast iron pipes can rust or deteriorate over time without proper cleaning.

  • Corrosion – Copper pipes are supposed to be “corrosion-resistant,” but that does not mean they are “corrosion-proof.” Copper pipes are susceptible to formicary corrosion, appearing as a black patch where the metal has weakened. This leads to pinhole leaks, and those are difficult to detect at first but will be a significant problem later.

  • Freeze – Water and sewer lines can be exposed to extreme temperatures. Pipes could freeze and burst, leaving you with a huge mess to clean up.

    (Video) tub / shower leaking in wall

Read also – How to fix Fix a Rusting and Leaking Cast Iron Sewer Pipe

How to repair a leaking pipe

There are two solutions when it comes to fixing a leaking pipe: minor repairs and total replacement.

  • Minor repairs – These can involve cutting into your drywall, finding the source of the leak, and then replacing the damaged sections. Or the plumber might put a simple patch over the leak and call it a day, but only if the leak is isolated.

  • Total replacement – Plumbers might decide that your entire system needs to be replaced, especially if your pipes are old or have the possibility for future leaks.

Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (7)

We break down the cost of potential repairs below. If leakage has been going on for a long time, and there is so much water damage, you may need to call restoration experts as well.

They can help extract water from your home, dry your walls, clean any affected personal items, and help with any insurance claims. They may be able to stop the leak, but plumbers are the ones who can help install new plumbing systems.

Cost to repair a leaking pipe in your wall

Based on what sort of pipes need repair, the prices are broken down below.

  • Water pipes – Leaking water pipes cost an average of $150 to $350 to repair. Finding the leak may cost an additional $100. This does not include repairing your drywall after it’s fixed. Drywall repair costs an additional $250 to $750, depending on the hole’s size and location. If a pipe froze and burst, you might be looking at paying $1,000 to $4,000 in water damage and cleanup. Total replacement for water pipes could run anywhere from $350 to $2,000, and that doesn’t include the plumber’s hourly fee.
  • Sewer pipes – If you have a leak in your sewer line, most plumbers won’t recommend small repairs. They tend to be rush jobs and don’t solve the real problem. In that case, plumbers suggest trenchless sewer repair or conventional sewer repair. Trenchless sewer repair, on average, runs $60 to $250 per linear foot. The price depends on various factors, such as the pipe condition, ease of navigation, the amount of cleaning needed before the lining, the amount of piping, and the accessibility of the pipe. Conventional sewer repair, on average, costs $50 to $450 per linear foot. The price to install brand new pipes throughout your home or yard could run to $15,000 because of all the extensive work, such as trenching and excavation.
  • Gas pipes – Gas line repair can cost $250 to $750. To run a new gas line, it’ll cost an average of $535. However, it can range anywhere from $120 to $1,350. Most homeowners spend between $259 and $815.

If you have issues with your water and sewer lines, call New Flow Plumbing today! We’ll get you started with a CCTV sewer camera inspection to determine where your problems come from. Then, we give you a free repair estimate, followed by available repair options. Whatever the issue, New Flow Plumbing will have your plumbing lines running again.

About the Author: New Flow Plumbing Inc.

Leaking Pipe In Wall: How To Find, Repair Options & Cost (8)

FAQs

How much does it cost to repair a leak in the wall? ›

Cost to repair a leaking pipe in your wall

Water pipes – Leaking water pipes cost an average of $150 to $350 to repair. Finding the leak may cost an additional $100. Drywall repair costs an additional $250 to $750, depending on the hole's size and location.

How do you repair a leaking pipe in the wall? ›

How do you find a leak in the wall pipe? ›

Signs of a water leak inside your wall
  1. Discolored areas – Leaky water pipes inside walls can cause spots of discoloration to appear.
  2. Mold in areas where you didn't expect to find it – Mold in damp areas like bathrooms isn't that surprising. ...
  3. Wet areas – Obviously, a wet wall could mean a leaking pipe.
24 Jun 2019

How do I exactly find a pipe leak? ›

How To: Find a Plumbing Leak
  1. Monitor the Water Bill.
  2. Watch the Water Meter.
  3. Check for Patches of Greener Grass.
  4. Investigate Appliances and Fixtures.
  5. Dye Test the Toilet.
  6. Stay Alert to Leaking Clues.
  7. Leak Detectors Offer Immediate Notification.
22 Sept 2020

How much should it cost to fix a leaking pipe? ›

Cost to Fix Leaking or Burst Pipes

Leaking pipes cost an average of $150 to $350 to repair, while diagnosing leak locations can add an additional $100. This doesn't include repairing the wall after the fix. Drywall repair costs an additional $250 to $750 depending on the size and location of the hole.

How much does it cost to repair water damaged drywall? ›

Repairing water damages in drywall ceilings and walls costs $200 to $500 for minor damage or $500 to $2,500 for major damage with roof leak repair. Fixing water damage typically requires other repairs before replacing the drywall: The cost to fix a leak is $150 to $850 on average, depending on the leak's location.

How do I fix a leaky pipe without replacing it? ›

How To Repair Leaky Pipes - Ace Hardware - YouTube

What do most plumbers charge per hour? ›

The Cost of Hiring a Plumber

Typically, plumbers are subject to an hourly rate, which is often between $45 and $200. Common repairs attract an average rate of $120. Some plumbers prefer a flat rate estimate as the variables involved in plumbing repair make it hard to have an hourly rate.

Why is water leaking from my wall? ›

Causes of a Water Leak Inside a Wall

Leaks can come from many areas such as inside the walls due to faulty plumbing or cracks in the pipe. No matter what material is used for your plumbing, damage can occur to the pipes. Some homes might have Pex plumbing and this can damage easily as rodents like it.

Is a water leak covered by homeowners insurance? ›

Homeowners insurance may help cover damage caused by leaking plumbing if the leak is sudden and accidental, such as if a washing machine supply hose suddenly breaks or a pipe bursts. However, homeowners insurance does not cover damage resulting from poor maintenance.

What happens if water gets behind wall? ›

Excess water and moisture gets absorbed in wood, drywall, insulation, and wallpaper which can lead to warping, stains, bubbling, and deterioration. Hidden water leaks can also cause mold to grow and spread in areas behind walls and ceilings where it is not easily detected.

How much is a leak detection test? ›

They can range from $75 to more than $350 depending on the type of leak detection equipment necessary to determine where the leak is. For natural reasons, the more complicated and deep the leak, the ostensibly more technical equipment, and expertise required.

Is there a tool to detect water leak? ›

A water leak detector can reduce the risk by alerting you to problems quickly, so you can act to prevent severe damage. We've tested several over the past few months, and these are the smart water leak detectors we recommend.

What are the two most common leak detection tests? ›

The most commonly used leak test methods are underwater bubble test, bubble soap paint, pressure and vacuum decay, and tracer gas detectors (halogen, helium and hydrogen).

Do plumbers charge for estimates? ›

Most professional plumbers offer clients a free estimate, which means they will come to your house, look at the job, and quote you an estimated cost. Don't let a plumber give you a price over the phone without looking at the repair first, because any estimate given this way will most likely be inaccurate.

How do you fix PVC pipe in a wall? ›

How To Repair PVC Pipe Using a Slip Fix - YouTube

How much does it cost to fix a cracked pipe? ›

How Much Does it Cost to Fix A Broken Water Pipe? A broken water pipe is no joke and can cost anywhere from $150 to $2,000. The national average cost for it is $500, with an average range of $200-$1,000.

Should you replace drywall if it gets wet? ›

Heavy Soaking

If left untreated, heavily soaked drywall can deform or even collapse. As a result, a drywall replacement is the best bet to protect the integrity of your home.

How much should I expect to pay for drywall repair? ›

Most drywall repair jobs cost a homeowner between $200 and $550. On average, expect to pay around $350 for a contractor to repair multiple holes and cracks in a single room using patches and compound. The project's lowest cost would be around $75 to apply joint compound to a few small nail holes.

How much should I pay for drywall repair? ›

Average Cost of Drywall Repair

Minor repairs that can be done by a handyman will cost an average of $60 to $90 per hour, or a drywall repair cost per square foot of $0.40-$0.80 which amounts to about $30 per sheet.

Does Flex Seal work on water pipes? ›

Flex Tape is completely waterproof! It can cover gushing water from a hole in a bucket, and it can even be used under water to seal a leaking pool.

How do you seal a leaking pipe? ›

How to Seal a Leaking Pipe | DIY Projects - YouTube

How much does a plumber make? ›

How Much Does a Plumber Make? Plumbers made a median salary of $56,330 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made $75,370 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $42,330.

How much does it cost to replumb a bathroom? ›

The average cost to rough-in plumbing for a bathroom is $7,000. The number of bathrooms, piping material, and project size are a few factors that impact the total cost.
...
Highlights.
Minimum CostNational Average CostMaximum Cost
$750$7,000$20,000
20 Jun 2022

How much should it cost to have a toilet installed? ›

According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, toilet installation costs range from $224 to $532, with the national average at $372. The overall cost depends on the type of toilet and the complexity of the job. It takes approximately 2 to 4 hours for a plumber to install a toilet at a base rate of $65 per hour.

Can a water leak cause structural damage? ›

Even a minor pipe leak can cause serious damage to ceilings, carpet, and hardwood flooring. A leak can leave visible water stains and other damage that's irreversible, plus it can cause mold, which is hazardous to your health. Lastly, it can cause structural damage.

How do you know if a pipe burst in the wall? ›

7 Warning Signs of a Busted Water Pipe
  1. Fluctuating Water Pressure. A burst pipe can result in wacky water pressure at your house. ...
  2. Discolored, Smelly Water. ...
  3. Clanging or Dripping Noises in the Walls. ...
  4. Mold Problems. ...
  5. Puddles Under Sinks. ...
  6. High Water Bills. ...
  7. Water Marks. ...
  8. Shut Off the Water.
3 Nov 2020

How do you check for water damage in walls? ›

Pay close attention to the wall texture. Peeling paint is a prime indicator of moisture problems, along with warping or buckling surfaces. Push on the wall slightly to see how it feels. Moisture-damaged drywall will feel soft and spongy, while wood-sheathed walls may feel slightly solid even with a moisture problem.”

How do I make a successful water leak claim? ›

If you want to make a successful water damage insurance claim, consider these four basic steps the moment you realize something has gone wrong:
  1. Get the Leak and Water Buildup Under Control. ...
  2. Document Everything. ...
  3. Call Your Insurance Provider as Quickly as Possible. ...
  4. Be Prepared to Get a Second Opinion. ...
  5. Gradual Damage.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from broken pipe? ›

Accidental water damage that occurs as a result of a sudden, unexpected occurrence like a burst pipe, is often covered by a homeowners insurance policy. In addition, cleaning, repair or replacement of wood flooring, drywall and even furniture due to water damage as a result of a burst pipe typically are covered.

How do you tell if you have a leak under your house? ›

If you notice the following signs, you might have an underground water leak in your home:
  1. Noticeable drop in water pressure when using plumbing appliances.
  2. Hissing or splashing noises.
  3. Dirty or rusty water (although this could be due to another problem)
  4. An increase of mold or water-loving insects in your home.
23 Dec 2020

How long does it take for a wall to dry out after a leak? ›

On average, it takes three days to completely dry wet drywall.

How long does it take for mold to grow after water damage? ›

mildew and mold will develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure. Even worse, it will continue to grow until steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture, and effectively deal with the mold problem. Use the diagram on the facing page to assess the extent of mold in your home.

Are water leaks expensive? ›

Even small leaks can be adding huge additional costs to your water bill. Check out these estimates to see what a leak is really costing you: A fast dripping faucet can end up costing homeowners about $20 a month, or upwards of $200 per year. A small crack in your pipe is a big deal and can cost about $600 per month.

How much does it cost to fix a broken pipe under a slab? ›

According to HomeAdvisor, the national average of a slab leak repair job is about $2,280. Meanwhile, the average cost of a simple pipe repair is about $630. On the high end, however, repairs may be up to $10,000 or more if total repiping and damage remediation, such as mold or asbestos abatement, are required.

What do leak detection companies do? ›

Leak Detection Specialists are sub-specialists in the plumbing trades. They have extensive knowledge of how plumbing systems operate and have specialized tools to find hidden leaks. In addition, they can repair efficiently and economically.

How much does it cost to install a water leak detection system? ›

Generally, whole house water leak detection systems take between four and six hours to install and cost between $500 to $1,500 depending on labor rates and the size of the system.

How do you fix leaky walls? ›

Use high-quality, water-resistant paints containing elements like silicon that provide extra strength to areas prone to seepage. Seal the gaps between window and door frames and walls. Remove the plasters from the dampened areas and apply a layer of white cement or mortar or any other waterproof material.

How do you stop a water leak in the wall? ›

Apply waterproof coating on your external walls and roofs

To prevent water seepage in walls, exterior waterproofing coats are required to be applied on the external walls. A waterproof coat will create a barrier to the rainwater and moisture, and prevent damp walls in your home.

How are pipe leaks detected? ›

The most common detection methods use acoustic sensors that detect the vibrations associated with leaks in pressurized pipes; they are, in essence, listening for leaks. It was also found that various types of imaging, fiber optics, and meter measurements were used to identify leaks.

What is pipe leak test? ›

The leak test is performed by immersing a part, usually a sandwich composite structure, in a hot water tank. The temperature of the water induces the expansion of air in the structure, and if a crack or a delamination is present, gas bubbles escape the structure and are immediately detected by visual inspection.

How long does a leak test take? ›

The test can take as little as ten minutes or as long as thirty minutes, depending on the size of the leak.

Are water leaks expensive? ›

Even small leaks can be adding huge additional costs to your water bill. Check out these estimates to see what a leak is really costing you: A fast dripping faucet can end up costing homeowners about $20 a month, or upwards of $200 per year. A small crack in your pipe is a big deal and can cost about $600 per month.

Can water damage in a house be fixed? ›

There is plenty of work involved with water damage restoration, such as drying, and replacing flooring, drywall, and insulation. Additionally, not all of your water-damaged belongings are salvageable, and pros will assess this damage as well.

What causes water damage to walls? ›

There are several possible causes of water damage on walls and ceilings. Leaking pipes, overflowing sinks or bathtubs, and heavy rains can all lead to water damage in your home. Even a small water leak that may not seem like a big deal can impact your home's structure if left unchecked.

How much does it cost to fix a broken pipe? ›

On average you can expect to pay anywhere from $10-$50 for a do-it-yourself kit to repair a simple leak. If there is not an excessive amount of water damage, and you choose to hire a plumber to repair your broken pipe, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$250.

How much does it cost to fix a broken pipe under a slab? ›

According to HomeAdvisor, the national average of a slab leak repair job is about $2,280. Meanwhile, the average cost of a simple pipe repair is about $630. On the high end, however, repairs may be up to $10,000 or more if total repiping and damage remediation, such as mold or asbestos abatement, are required.

How much is a leak test? ›

Professionals may cut into your ceilings or walls to get the access necessary for this process. You pay anywhere from $250 to $2,500 for this detection service. Do you have a leak in your ceiling, roof or basement?

How long does it take for a wall to dry out after a leak? ›

On average, it takes three days to completely dry wet drywall.

Can a water leak cause structural damage? ›

Even a minor pipe leak can cause serious damage to ceilings, carpet, and hardwood flooring. A leak can leave visible water stains and other damage that's irreversible, plus it can cause mold, which is hazardous to your health. Lastly, it can cause structural damage.

Does water damage get worse over time? ›

The longer the damage stays, the more the damage will spread. It will cause the ceiling to discolor and begin to develop bulges, mold will grow. Thus the damage will spread to the walls, which will also begin to discolor and develop mold, until eventually, the whole thing is irreparable and needs to be replaced.

How long does it take for water to damage walls? ›

Within 1 to 24 hours, various types of water damage will occur. The drywall in the kitchen swells and breaks down. The water tarnishes the metal surfaces it touches.

What do water damaged walls look like? ›

However, there are signs you can look for water damage in walls. Those are wet or dark spots, cracking, bubbling, flaking, smell of damp, mold, or musty to name a few. Lets take a look at why you need to know the signs, how to fix leaks, other maintenance, and when to contact a professional.

How long does it take for mold to grow after water damage? ›

mildew and mold will develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure. Even worse, it will continue to grow until steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture, and effectively deal with the mold problem. Use the diagram on the facing page to assess the extent of mold in your home.

Will a one time leak cause mold? ›

Can a one-time water leak cause mold? Short answer: yes. People often believe that only extensive water damage leads to mold growth. However, this is not true.

How do you dry out a water damaged wall? ›

Accelerate drying by opening windows and doors. Use fans to move air around the damp walls. Dehumidifiers can help remove moisture from the air, which indirectly removes it from the walls, too. To speed up evaporation, remove molding and baseboards to prevent moisture from entering behind them.

How do you dry out a water damaged house? ›

Water Damage: 8 Ways to Dry Out and Move On
  1. Move Air Naturally. If humidity isn't too high, open windows and doors to start air circulating. ...
  2. Move Air Mechanically. Rent or buy high-powered fans to rev up air circulation. ...
  3. Dehumidify. ...
  4. Pump Water. ...
  5. Wet/Dry Shop Vac. ...
  6. Remove Sodden Objects. ...
  7. Freeze Papers. ...
  8. Absorb Moisture.

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