Water Running But Can’t Find Leak: A Comprehensive Guide

Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility. When something goes wrong, such as a water leak, it’s your job to fix it before it becomes a bigger headache. Hearing water running without the presence of a noticeable leak can be frustrating, to say the least. 

When you hear water running but can’t find a leak, you should perform an inspection of the interior and exterior of your home. Check for visible signs of a leak, such as puddles and discoloration, and check your water meter. While you can spot water leaks on your own, it’s best to call in a professional immediately for deeper evaluation and a permanent solution. 

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about detecting a leak from running water sounds. Keep reading to learn how to find a leak in your home, what to do when you hear water running but can’t find a leak, and how to prevent future leaks in your home.

Locating and Fixing Hidden Plumbing Leaks

To find a leak in your home, check for discoloration on the walls, ceiling, and floor. Leaking water can also affect your lawn or garden outside, causing unusual wet patches.

Man holding basket

If your faucet water pressure is low, it may be leaking into another area. In addition, strange noises smells, and visible mold or mildew growth are huge indications of a possible leak. 

What Should I Do If I Hear Water Running But Can’t Find A Leak?

If you hear water running but can’t find a leak, begin by inspecting the inside of your home thoroughly. If you can’t find the source, check your roof, chimney, and outdoor areas. 

The water meter will give a clear indication of any leaks or excessive water loss. When in doubt about how to find the leak or after locating one that needs repairs, it’s best to call a professional for assistance.

1. Check Your Water Meter

Water meters come with a leak indicator, which is a small dial or wheel that identifies leaks in your home. The appearance and location vary per brand, but they all serve the same purpose. 

Water Meter

To complete this check, locate your water meter. It may be outside, in the basement, or in another location of your home. Next, examine the leak indicator for any movement. 

If it’s completely still, it’s safe to say there’s no leak and you can resume the use of your appliances. Movement of this wheel or dial will signal a leaking water problem. 

2. Walk Around and Inspect the Inside of Your Home 

When you suspect a leak somewhere in your home, the quickest way to find out is to inspect it. To do this, you should first limit all noises and distractions. 

Walk around each area of your home and listen carefully for dripping noises. If you hear running water or tapping in a certain room, you may have found the source of the leak. 

Other obvious signs you may notice during your inspection include puddles of water or discolored stains on the walls and ceilings. These stains may also appear on the floor. 


In cases of prolonged leaks and moisture, mold and mildew may have already formed. While water bill increases also indicate leaks, it may take you at least a month to notice with this method alone. 

3. Check Your Water Softener and Your Water Heater 

Most water softener leaks occur at the top of the unit from the hose. This will be visible immediately upon inspection if there is any dripping water. 

Water heaters also show noticeable signs of leaks. Upon inspection, you may see water around the unit. 

Water Softener

If you find a puddle, place a cloth or paper towel on top of it. This will allow you to accurately measure if the leak extends past its current point. A full 24 hours is an adequate amount of time to determine if water is leaking from your water heater. 

4. Inspect the Outside of Your House 

An exterior inspection is similar to the interior. When walking around the outside of your home, look for spots of discoloration or any changes to the paint. Cracks in the material or downspouts that are not properly installed may indicate a leak. 

5. Check Your Roof and Chimney 

Chimneys are susceptible to leaks but these problems often go undetected. While it may seem unusual for a fireplace to also hold water, it’s a frequent occurrence. If you notice condensation, leaking water, or any unusual moisture in your fireplace, it’s necessary to complete a roof and chimney test. 

Checking the Roof and Chimney 

Run water for several minutes in the area between your roof and chimney. This can be done using a garden hose attached to the side of your house. 

When this is done, go back in the house to check from the inside. If there are any more signs of water in the chimney and fireplace immediately after you do this, you can be sure there is a leak.  

6. Call a Professional

There are cases when DIY solutions are not possible and you must call a professional. These include a heavy flow of water causing floods and visible mold growth. Noticing anything else out of the ordinary, or if you are simply unable to find the source of the running water noise, calling a professional can give you peace of mind. 

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Leak?

The cost to fix a leak can be $300 to $4000. This number depends on a variety of factors, including where the leak is located, the severity of the problem, and what needs to be repaired or replaced. 

A serious leak that requires a brand new water line can cost over $1,000, while a simple leak repair is closer to $700. It’s best to consult with a professional in your area to determine exact costs. 

How Do I Prevent Leaks From Happening?

Get ahead of leaks by listening to running water, being aware of common symptoms, performing regular inspections, and turning off your water supply before traveling. It’s important to prevent leaks before they happen to avoid expensive and dangerous consequences. Not only can unexpected repairs and replacements be costly, but mold and mildew growth can pose a serious health hazard to the people in your household. 

Listen For Running Water 

The sound of running water can indicate a leak in other places besides the faucet. When you hear this noise and check your fixtures without discovering the source, consider that your toilet or water heater may be making the noise. Instead of defaulting to the sinks and showers, check these problem areas for leaks or excessive running water. 

Be Aware Of Symptoms 

The sound of running or dripping water is often the earliest indication of a leak. Other common symptoms include puddles or visible standing water, mold or mildew growth, stains and discoloration on the walls and ceilings, cracks in the structure of your home, warped floors, and strange smells. 

It’s important to be aware of these symptoms to spot damaging leaks as early as possible. This will help you avoid costly damages and improve the safety of your household. By completing regular inspections and taking action as soon as you notice a problem, you can limit your expenses and trips to the doctor’s office. 

Inspect Problem Areas Every Few Months

Whether you do it yourself or hire a professional, it’s important to inspect problem areas at least once every few months. These areas include, but are not limited to, your bathroom, basement, laundry room, and kitchen. Any area of your home with running water or prolonged exposure to moisture will need to be checked regularly to prevent any future problems. 

You should always be on the lookout for strange noises or patterns that may indicate a leak. However, it’s always wise to have a trusted professional perform an inspection to identify any issues that may go unnoticed. 

Turn Off Water Supply When Traveling 

Turning off your water supply while traveling can help you avoid mistakes, such as someone leaving the faucet slightly turned on or the appliance starting itself. Checking that all faucets and spouts are closed before leaving is not enough. In the event of any leaks, no one will be around to notice dripping sounds and stop it, therefore it’s best to shut off the supply completely until you return.

Leave a Comment