Some plumbing leaks are really obvious—they come with a visibly dripping faucet or a pipe that leaves puddles under the sink. Others, though, are not as obvious. Plumbing is designed to be out of sight inside your walls, below the floors, and in the ceilings, but when one of those pipes springs a leak it can be difficult to find and fix it before it becomes a significant problem. Here are some strategies to help you discover when you have a leak, and important information about getting it fixed right away.

Monitor Your Water Bill

Most people will notice some variation from one month to the next in the water bill, but if you see a big spike one month or you notice that the bill is higher than normal for several months in a row without any other explanation, it might be that you have water leaking somewhere in or around your home.

Check for Symptoms and Signs of Mold

When you have a water leak it creates conditions that are ideal for mold and mildew growth, and if you don’t notice the water leak for a significant period of time it can lead to out-of-control mold and mildew growth. For most homeowners, the first sign of mold is the very distinct smell, and if you notice that you can always smell it in a certain area of the house, chances are that’s where you should be looking for a leak. Even in the absence of moldy smell, you may notice that you or others in your house are constantly sniffling, sneezing, and stuffy when you’re at home (but it goes away when you’re out), and this could be a reaction to the mold. Be sure to get it checked out right away to avoid long-term health consequences or significant damage to your home from unchecked mold.

Notice Discoloration

When water leaks inside your walls or in the floors or ceilings, you will likely see the signs of the leak evidenced in the paint. When it gets wet, drywall and paint react by bubbling, bulging, or showing rings of discoloration in shades such as yellow, brown, or gray. Spills and minor stains can often be wiped away, but if it’s something that keeps growing, or comes back after you clean it up, it’s likely a deeper problem and should be checked by a Park City plumber.

Listen to Your House

When it’s quiet around, take some time to listen to the sounds your house makes. If you can hear the telltale signs of a leak, such as a constant drip, but you can’t locate a visible faucet where it’s coming from, that leak might still exist behind the walls. Most professional Park City plumbers will have tools that can help detect water in areas where you can’t see, so call them first when you hear a leak but can’t see it.

Don’t wait until it’s too late and water has caused significant damage to your home. Know the signs of hidden plumbing leaks and call a Park City plumber right away when you notice them.