When You Hear Water Running With Nothing Turned On
Running water and indoor plumbing are great things we take for granted. We just assume it’s no problem in our homes. On rare occasions though, we can have a problem with the water in our home. Or sometimes, we hear a problem, but is it a problem? Have you ever heard the water running, but know there was nothing running?
You can hear it in a wall or a ceiling, or maybe near a fixture or appliance. Is it a leak? Is something busted? You’re freaking out. But maybe there’s no problem at all. Maybe there is, and you can’t find it, which is even worse.
You’re sure you hear running water. You don’t know if there’s a leak. Some first guesses might be the check your water meter. You can go around and check all the toilets to see if one is running non-stop. You can go check every pipe in the house.
Some other ideas, some pretty likely but some quite rare, are checking around the outside of the house. Maybe it’s a dripping or leaking roof or gutter or window.
You’d rather not call a professional, and pay money, but you might have to. Here are some ideas to check first.
If one of the first ideas you had was to check your water meter, that’s a good start. The meter should have a red hand moving around which tells you the water is on and running. Most meters have a display screen above or below the dial face. This is telling you the gallons of water used.
You can get a water bill to try and do the math about what’s the normal usage for a day, or week. Here are some general averages for what most families or homes use in a day or a month.
One person uses an average of 100 gallons of water a day. For a home of four, it’s 400 gallons a day. For one person for a month, it’s 3,000. A family of four averages 12,000 gallons of water used a month.
If you’re hearing running water in your home, check the meter and keep track of it for a day or longer. You’ll see quickly if the water usage is way over the average, either the general average or the average compared to your bill or statement.
Inspect More Inside the House
If there’s no obvious leak anywhere, there could still be an issue with a fixture somewhere. You can take the time to go over every fixture and look for small leaks, a faucet with water dripping out or running out somewhere, a toilet barely running, a flapper or seal which is not sealed, anything that would’ve been easy to miss. If this turns out to be the cause, you’ve mostly lucked out.
Check the Water Heater or Other Water Systems
You can check your water heater, your water softener, or your filtration system if you have a whole-home system. The issue could be right where the water enters your home.
Turn off the heater or softener one at a time. Does the running sound stop? It could be a leak somewhere with these larger systems.
Also, if you turn the water on at a fixture and it continues to sound as though it’s running for a while after you cut off the water – as in a shower – but then stops after a long delay, you could have a pipe leaking.
Check Outside the House
If the meter checks out fine, and you inspect all the plumbing and fixtures inside and still find nothing, look around, literally around, the house. The water could be from something or somewhere else.
Take a look at a sprinkler system if you’ve got one or gutters. It’s possible it’s from rain, melting snow, or ice. If you’ve had a major rainfall or odd weather event (wind, ice) lately, this is worth a check.
It is feasible that water dripped in from a window into the wall. If a window was left barely open, doesn’t have proper flashing or sealant, or has a chip or crack, it may leak and the leak may not be apparent because it’s not into the actual house to a spot you’d notice.
While checking windows, look for standing water. If you see pools or puddles, the water could be draining down into a wall. This is a hint, then you can look closer for a crack or bad seal. Another sign to look for is wall paint looking warped or bubbled. This is probably from water going where it’s not supposed to.
Check the Roof and Chimney
Mother Nature could’ve caused a problem with your roof or chimney. If your house has a flat roof, this is especially prone to a leak. Standing water can gather on a flat roof, stay there, damage the roof, and leak. You could have a gutter leak or damage.
With a chimney, it’s possible for a leak to form, especially with an old chimney that hasn’t been inspected in a very long time. You or a pro can inspect all the parts of a chimney for needed repairs. Checking the chimney cap or crown – where the concrete joins the chimney to the roof – is a good idea with or without the mysterious sound of water.
Call a Pro
If you’ve checked everything you can think of and still don’t know, it’s time to call a plumbing pro. A plumber can do an expert inspection. This assessment might take a few hours. After a full inspection, a plumber should give you a detailed report and know the next steps to take.
South End Plumbing specializes in leak repairs and water heater installation, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in tankless water heaters – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.