Detecting Water Damage: 6 Signs and Clues

There’s nothing quite like water damage to dampen the day, quite literally. It’s a common problem that happens more often than most people realize. Whether you’re living in an old home or new, countryside or city, apartment or house, water damage can happen anywhere and at any time. If the subsequent problems are not immediately taken care of, this damage can worsen over time and further deteriorate your living conditions.

Water is becoming an increasingly precious resource and wasting it to leaks is highly unfortunate. It doesn’t just impact the environment, but repairing the damage caused to your home can end up costing you lots of money. So, if you do have any water damage in your home, you’ll want to put a stop to it as soon as possible.

You can easily take care of some leaks, like spotting a puddle under the kitchen sink and fixing it immediately. However, some drips inside the ceilings and behind walls aren’t detected easily. By the time they start showing unmistakable signs, the damage has usually worsened.

For early detection of possible water leaks in your home, look out for these six signs and clues:

  1. Wet Stains

When water or any other substance mixes with the material on your wall, floor, or ceiling, it transforms its overall composition. Due to this, the material starts breaking down and becomes brittle – a telltale sign that the water has seeped into your walls or floor. You can also check by touching the drywall. If the surface feels soft to the touch, it has definitely sustained some water damage.

Instead of trying to repair the problem yourself, hire professionals that offer residential services to fix all kinds of water damage. Their expertise and experience will ensure appropriate identification and fix before your home’s structural integrity gets compromised.

  1. Strange Odors

Strange smells and odors are ominous signs in any case. But, in the case of water damage, they are a clear sign of mildew or mold build-up. Sometimes a musty smell is the only clue to a possible mold problem. Wood, a common organic material used in houses, promotes mold growth, especially in high moistures and houses with poor circulation. It’s often found on bathroom walls or around the windows. Long hot showers, humidifiers, and indoor clotheslines all contribute to more moisture, fostering mold growth. It may look like furry black stains or colored specks of green, orange, brown, white, or black.

  1. Sagging Walls

When the water starts seeping into walls, it causes the paint and foundation to expand. Due to this, the color separates from the walls and starts forming bubbles. It may even cause the walls to sag as the foundation becomes uneven. The paint on your walled surfaces starts to peel off and drags another section of the wall along it. Therefore, if you notice any bubbling, peeling paint, or uneven and bulging wall sections, chances are you have water damage.

Not just the walls; even your ceilings may show any of these signs. It would be best to get it checked before it starts destroying other areas in the house.

  1. Bulging Floors

Much like saggy walls, if your floor becomes uneven, it’s a clear sign that the water has begun seeping into your flooring. Constant trickling separates the flooring material from the foundation of your home and creates a gap in between. This gap creates uneven floors and forms bulges in various spaces. If left untreated, the water accumulation will induce additional pressure and cause floors to warp and become unstable. Eventually, tiles or other flooring material will crack and further deteriorate, pretty much leaving you without foundation.

  1. Suspicious Sounds

The sounds of running water are often left ignored, even though it’s an essential clue to water damage. Hearing sounds of running water even after you have turned off all your faucets is a clear indication of a leaky pipe somewhere in the house. Additionally, leaks in pressurized pipes create weird noises when air and water move through the opening. Keep your ears open for any unusual dripping, gurgling, hissing, clinking, or splashing. Any of these sounds may be clues to a leak in one of your pipes.

  1. Increased Water Bill

Perhaps the most straightforward and obvious clue is a sudden spike in your water utility bill. To be on the safe side, it’s always a good idea to regularly review your water usage. Look out for any sudden jumps in the units which may hint at a water leak. A high water bill can also reinforce your theories if you have observed any of the other clues mentioned above.

If left unrepaired, some leaks start out small and get bigger over time. To identify them, you can review the water usage history of the last few months to see if any unusual spikes jump out to you. If your water usage has remained the same yet your billing has increased for no apparent reason, perhaps it’s time to call in the experts.


Every house is prone to water damage at one point or another. To stay ahead of it, be on the lookout for possible clues like wet stains, peeling walls, weird noises, and spiked utility bills. If you suspect anything amiss, it’s best to call a professional immediately!

Written by Jayden Woods

Jayden is a guest post editor and part time contributor at Life Hack Solution. For guest post queries, reach out to