Can Silverfish Help you Find a leak in Your home?

Silverfish are, Latin named Family Lepismatidae, are small insects that often infiltrate homes. Their name comes from the fact that they are light grey in colour and move in a similar way to that of a fish. Silverfish love carbohydrates (sugar and starch), and they are around 12mm to 25mm in length.

They aren’t the most overwhelming of insect infestations you can find in a home, but they certainly are a nuisance. They have rather savage eating habits, which is why you can find them ruining clothes, wallpaper, shampoos and even the glue that you find in books.

Homeowners can just be unlucky when it comes to getting silverfish. Perhaps they have brought in items from outside to indoors, transferring them into the home unknowingly. What is for certain though, is that warm and moist environments are their heaven. If a home has a leak or is generally damp, the pests can find a way to crawl through that cracks and gaps in the foundation of the home or the doors and windows.

Using silverfish to identify a leak at home

Whilst silverfish may contaminate your food and eat through your belongings, this can only be the surface-level damage to a much worse problem. They may be an indicator that you have fundamental damage in the home.

Silverfish exploit holes that start off with being water damage. In fact, water is one of the largest threats to a house. It is why we have gutter systems that keep water away from the home and its walls. Without it, you may have a build up of water that rots away at the foundation of the home. Wood rot would certainly attract silverfish, and could pave a channel into the home for them.

Silverfish are only the beginning of the story, too. When you have a leak, mould or damp then you have a much higher chance of being infested by rats, which can bring lice and fleas. The problem can exacerbate, which is why using the silverfish to identify an issue early on is so important.

Common causes of a water leak

There are several reasons which may cause a leak that has led to silverfish, here are the main ones:


An old plumbing system can cause rust and general corrosion. This is where the pipes get eaten away and can bring on a leak. This can be identified by discoloured pipes, or if they are warped. A plumber would be able to identify this very quickly, but the signs are there for all of us to see.

Broken seals

Seals are everywhere. Around the door of a dishwasher, a washing machine, water connectors of appliances. Seals can become broken or worn down over time.This can be identified by seeing condensation or outright puddles near the appliance.

HVAC equipment

Air conditioner units often overflow in the condensate pans when the drain line clogs. Dripping and condensation on the walls are going to lead to water damage. The drain line and condensate pump should be regularly checked.


As described above, guttering is extremely important. Gutters that contains a lot of leaves and general debris can cause water to build up, not flow, and pour over the side. This can make its way into the foundation of the home over time, from the outside in. Basements should be checked for leaks, and any signs that water has overflowed from the futter off the side.

Fixing water leaks

As we can guess from the above issues, most fixes to these problems can be very expensive. Fixing the source of the leak may be a matter of getting new seals, new/fixing appliances, cleaning out the gutters and restoring plumbing pipes. Most of these are not cheap, and this doesn’t include fixing the water damage itself.

You might be looking at just over $100 for small jobs, but this can run up to a thousand very quickly for larger jobs.

This is a situation where the monthly payments for home warranty will finally pay off, big time. The home warranty company usually sends out a technician immediately to fix the water leak, which is perhaps the most stress-free way of having the issue resolved – providing you have chosen a good company. Extensive piping and plumbing coverage is needed, which is available with most companies.

Water leaks can lead to damp or mould, which can have serious health implications such as respiratory symptoms and infections as well as allergies. Leaks can be better avoided by routine maintenance checks. The first sign of damp or silverfish should be treated as if you have a significant water leak, and inspected accordingly. Damp can be spotted by its smell, mould or patches of diclour on the walls or ceilings, peeling wallpaper and condensation on windows.

Atif Mallo

Atif Mallo is a freelance blogger with huge interest in technology, science, life hacks and health. He loves coffee, cheesecake and chess. Drop a line in comments to leave feedback for him.

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