How to Find a Plumbing Leak

water leak damage

Finding hidden leaks

Water is a wonderful natural source that we need in our everyday lives. It is also an enemy to our homes when it is in places it shouldn’t be, like from a plumbing leak in any number of places. This is why plumbing leak detection is so important for a homeowner. 

Plumbing leak detection is important not only for saving our homes, but a natural resource that isn’t replenishing as fast as we’re using it. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the average household leaks account for as much as 10,000 gallons of water, or more, each day. That is wasted water for the environment and wasted money on higher water bills, and let’s not forget the damage it is doing to homes. 

A homeowner that gets a water bill with a higher than normal amount can do some plumbing leak detection, even though they won’t have all the equipment, experience, and skills that a professional plumber does.  By professional means, these steps are nothing like a professional plumbing leak detection, and it certainly won’t pinpoint if you have a plumbing leak in slab, a plumbing leak in wall, or any specific area. These steps will only confirm your suspension. 

For this simple plumbing leak detection of your home’s plumbing secretly wasting water, follow these steps, preferably when nobody else is home so there isn’t any accidental flushing or water being turned on: 

  • Make sure all the water outlets are turned off, inside and outside of your home.
  • Find the water meter and write down the reading on the meter. 
  • Wait at least one hour then  check the water meter reading.
  • If the numbers have changed, you have detected a plumbing leak.

Now, the question is where and how bad, and for a homeowner, there isn’t any way of plumbing leak detection in hidden areas like the slab foundation or inside a wall.  For a leak in an upstairs bathroom, one plumbing leak in ceiling would be water stains on the ceiling directly under that bathroom. 

Turning the water back on and check under all the sinks for plumbing leak under sinks. While you may think this would be an obvious place you’d have noticed already, it could be very small and undetected.  As the water is turned back on, check the plumbing under each sink and around each toilet. 

For those hidden plumbing leak detection methods, you’ll need a plumber with professional plumbing leak detection equipment. Today, one of the plumbing leak test a plumber can perform is a hydrostatic pressure test. This is performed on your home’s sanitary sewer system  and can detect any water leaks in the plumbing system. 

  • First, the plumber inserts an inflatable test ball into the mainline of the sewer clean out, a hydrostatic plumbing leak detection method. 
  • Then the  test ball is inflated so that it blocks the main sewer line. The water is then turned on until the sewer system is  filled to the slab level with water. 
  • The plumbing contractor will then observe the water level for 15 minutes. If the water in the sewer system doesn’t reach the slab level, or begins to lower, this indicates a leak in the sewer system. 

Another piece of  plumbing leak detection equipment used to identify where the leak is using a higher level of technology. That plumbing leak detection involves using video camera on a fiber optic cable and a television-type screen.  

The fiber optic cable and camera are inserted into the suspected problem pipe and the camera sends pictures back to the television-type screen. The plumber is able to see exactly where the leak is and determine what needs to be done. 

Another method that professional plumbers use for plumbing leak detection is with an electronic listening device. This technology enhances  the plumber’s hearing so that they can hear deep inside the water lines. This allows them to narrow down the area of the plumbing leak by inducing a small electric charge in the water lines. 

It is important that a homeowner realize any plumbing leak or roof leak that goes undetected, or left unrepaired, the dangers and risk they are putting their family and home in jeopardy. A plumbing leak and mold go hand in hand, and becomes expensive not only with the structure damage, but the health of their family. 

copper pipe leak

Is plumbing leak covered by insurance?

There are several factors that are considered by an insurance company before they will pay a claim.  A roof leak in a roof that is over a certain age or has been neglected by the homeowner, any insurance claim will be declined. Damage from acts of nature like tornados that cause roof leak, the claim will likely be paid. 

Plumbing leaks are a different breed of insurance claims. It may not pay for the repair, but it will pay for the replacement of things damaged by a plumbing leak. Detection equipment will become more commonplace, and homeowner’s insurance will likely start offering discounts for homes equipped with plumbing leak detection, if they haven’t already. Need help finding your plumbing leak in Fort Worth, TX? Call 817-281-5325 today.