Water leaks can be dangerous if you don’t know what to do or where you live. Even a small leak could become a major problem, causing significant damage to your home and costing you a lot of money. It is important to find the source of the leak quickly in order to avoid disaster.

Here are some ways to check if you have a hidden leak in your plumbing.

Look out for signs of water damage. You should take the time to move around your house and look for signs of water damage. You should inspect the vanity under the sink, as well as any hot water heaters, and near any sump pumps, external hosebibs, or basements where pipes might be visible. You should be alert for unusual smells or water sounds that are not normal.

Look at your water bill. The average household uses roughly the same amount each month or every pay period. If you notice a sudden increase in water bills, but your habits don’t change, it could be an indication of a leak somewhere on your property.

Take a look at your bathrooms. If your bathroom is running at random to fill up, it is likely that the flapper on the tank has worn down and water is leaking into the bowl. You can quickly check this by adding a few drops food coloring to the tank. Wait for 15 minutes, don’t flush the toilet during this time. If the water in the bowl has turned a color, the internal assembly must be replaced or repaired.

Check your water meter. The water meter in your home can tell you if water is flowing through your plumbing. Turn off all water-using appliances and faucets.

Next, check your water meter to note the reading. Keep all water off and wait for two weeks before checking the tube again. If you see a significant difference in the reading, it could be an indication that there is a leak somewhere.

Outdoor usage is important. You may lose or use a lot of water depending on the season. Make sure that all irrigation and outside faucets are working properly.