Most homeowners know that they need to call a plumber the moment they notice a leak coming out of a faucet or shower head. But what about those leaks that you don't notice immediately? There are plenty of places throughout your house where a leak could begin dripping without you noticing it right away. The best way to catch these leaks is to have a contractor inspect your home on a regular basis, but in the meantime, here are three warning signs to watch out for.

Strange Smells

Where there's a leak that's gone unchecked, there is usually mold as well. If you sniff something foul and musty every time you walk into a certain room, that's probably a good sign that something is going on behind the scenes. The leak could be coming from a pipe behind the wall among other places. If you believe you have mold in the area, steer clear until a plumber can fix the problem as mold can be dangerous to breathe for an extended amount of time.

Your Water Bill Suddenly Spikes

A leak can cause damage to your home but it can also cause damage to your wallet. One of the surest signs that something is not quite right is if you open this month's water bill and notice that it has spiked dramatically. Upon seeing this, you should immediately check every faucet and exposed pipe in the house for signs of trouble. If you don't notice anything, you'll need to hire a leak detection company, such as First Class Plumbing of Florida Inc., to help you out.

Cracks in Foundation/Basement Wall

If one of your leaking pipes is down behind a basement wall or outside the home, there's a chance the water runoff could end up settling near the house's foundation. You can expect your house to settle a bit over time if it is new, but if you start noticing significant cracks in the basement walls, this is a warning sign that water damage is likely weakening your foundation. You'll again want to hire an expert to be sure, but in the meantime, make sure you clear the basement of anything valuable in case that leak suddenly turns into a flood.

A contractor who specializes in leak detection can help you discover problems with your house before they turn into larger issues. Get your house fully inspected at least once a year for signs of trouble while being cognizant of the tell-tale signs of a leak.