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How Do You Know If You Have a Leaking Pipe If You Can’t See It?

Leaking Pipe
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Having a leaking pipe in your home is annoying for multiple reasons. Not only does it drive up your water bill unnecessarily, but can also damage your home and belongings, and can even create an environment where health threatening mold can grow. While plumbers have many tools to help them find leaks sometimes it is possible for the homeowner to find the general area of the leak saving your plumber time when he arrives.

Finding Leaks Yourself

The only real way to confirm you have a leak is to find it – you can help your plumber by finding the general area of where the leak is by following these steps:

  • By Sight

    The easiest way to start looking for a leak is to look for water damage. Water damage manifests itself as brown stains in your ceiling or walls. If your house has vinyl flooring or wallpaper, look out for areas where it has begun to bubble or peel, as the presence of water will cause the glue used to begin to fail. In some more serious cases, it’ll be possible to see mold growing. A ground leak can sometimes be found by seeing a constant wet patch on your lawn.

  • By Touch

    This method is tricky as it can be misleading. If you have a good idea of where the leak might be, it is possible to run your hands along the wall looking for cold spots in the wall, feeling for dampness in the wall, or for peeling and flaking paint. However, this method can be unreliable as the cause of cold spots can sometimes be cold water lines.

  • By Sound

    The sound of dripping water can be one of the most annoying noises, especially when you cannot find the source of it. Should you hear dripping water, and you’ve made sure that all your faucets are closed this may indicate a hidden leak and time to call the plumber.

How the Pros Find Leaks

Professionals need to be able to pinpoint the exact location of the leak, so that they can begin to repair it. Some repairs can be made by working in crawl spaces while others require holes to be cut out of the drywall.

  • Cameras/Video Inspection

    Plumbers will often use a series of cameras to help find a leak. The first kind of camera is small and is mounted on flexible cables. This allows plumbers to fit these cameras into cavities of your walls to look for leaks without having to cut into them. Some plumbers guide these cameras through faucets or service eye holes to locate sources of a leak from inside the pipes.

    Cameras are also used by introducing Hydrogen and Nitrogen Gas to your plumbing system, and using thermal imaging to find areas where there is a big change in temperature which indicates escaping gas.

    Underground leaks such as sewer leaks can be detected by using a video inspection. Your plumber will inspect your sewer drains and be able to identify the cause of the leak – these may vary from damaged or broken pipes to a foreign object blocking the pipe. Video inspection can determine the exact location of the problem and prevent your yard from being dug up unnecessarily.

  • Listening Disks

    A listening disk is an audio device similar to a doctor’s stethoscope, it allows a plumber to place a disk on any surface and listen for the sounds of leaking water, which is amplified through a pair of headphones. For concrete, brick and stone surfaces, a plumber may opt to use a more powerful version of this tool, called a deck plate.

Should you be experiencing any hidden plumbing leaks in your home, please feel free to contact us at Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric, because no matter your plumbing issues, Art can fix it!


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