Have you noticed your water bill is increasing even though you have not been using more water? This is one sign that your home plumbing system has a leak that needs to be pinpointed and repaired as quickly as possible. The alternative is to continue to waste water and money while gradually ruining your home's foundation. Unfortunately, some of the origins of some leaks are difficult to find. The majority of leaks will be hidden as opposed to blatantly obvious. Let's take a quick look at how to conduct water leak detection, pinpoint the location of that leak, and repair it.
1. Locate the Water Meter
Water meters are typically positioned toward the front of the house, a little past the property line. The meter is likely within a subterranean box that has a metal top marked as the water meter. Take the lid off the meter box. The meter's sweep hand shows the CCFs of gallons of water used along with a dial for leak detection. A small triangle typically serves as the leak detection dial. If the dial spins, the water is running. If the dial is moving slowly, there is a drip. Turn off all your home appliances that use water. Observe the meter's leak detection dial. If this dial moves, there is likely a leak. If the meter does not have such a detector, look at the sweep hand. If the sweep hand moves, it is a clue that water is running.
2. Finding the Leak
If the water meter indicates there is a leak, turn off the water main shut-off valve within the house. This valve is likely located in the cellar, garage or outdoors along the foundation of the home. If the dial that indicates there is a leak is moving, the leak is between the shut-off valve and the water meter. This means one of the subterranean pipes extending to your home might be leaking. If the dial indicating the leak and the sweep hand does not move, take a close look at the toilet, faucets and even home appliances to pinpoint the source of your building's leak.
3. The Toilet Might be the Cause of the Leak
Oftentimes, the toilet is the true cause of the leak. All in all, toilets typically account for about one-third of the average home's aggregate water use. In other words, it is imperative that your toilet is functioning as it should. You can test for a leak in your toilet by adding a couple of drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. Wait at least 10 minutes to determine if the color appears in the bowl. If color shows, there is a leak permitting water to move from the toilet tank to the drain even though the bowl is not flushed.
4. Look for Mold and be Hyper-aware of Odors
Water leak detention in your home might be as simple as checking along the back of your cabinets and beneath basins. Look in these areas for signs of mold and/or odors that indicate a leak is present. If you find water or an odor, it is a cause for concern. There is a good chance the odor stems from the mold so it is important you act quickly. Prompt action really does have the potential to save you thousands of dollars in repairs.
5. Video Inspection for Leak Identification
Oftentimes, a superficial visual inspection of the property will not suffice for the water leak detection. It might be necessary to use a video inspection tool and/or a plumbing camera. Our plumbing team commonly uses these cameras to find hidden and/or diminutive leaks. Video inspection tools are typically a combination of a camera along with a light connected to a fiber optic cable.
The camera moves down into pipes of varying sizes, sending footage right back to our plumbing team's monitor. Such an in-depth video inspection identifies the true cause of the leak in surprisingly little time. Video cameras prove especially helpful if you have a general idea of where the leak might be. The footage from the camera will also help our plumbers determine which approach to repair will prove optimal.
6. Resist the Temptation to Perform DIY Leak Repair
Once the site of the leak is identified, it is imperative that you do not worsen the leak by attempting a DIY (do it yourself) leak repair. Such an effort has the potential to worsen the problem that much more. Instead, do the smart thing by reaching out to our plumbing crew for professional assistance. We will identify the exact location of the leak and repair it on your behalf, providing you with truly invaluable peace of mind.
a. Underground Leak Detection
- Wet spots in landscaped areas and/or water pooling on the ground.
- Moldy or mossy patches surrounded by dry conditions.
- A significant drop in water pressure/flow.
- Rusty water or dirt or air in the water supply.
- An irritated, thriving area turning brown or dying.
- Cracking of paved areas.
- The appearance of sinkholes or potholes.
- A sudden increase in water bills.
b. Underground Water Leak Detection through Meter Reading
- Ensure water is not being used inside or outside your home.
- Locate your water meter and check the leak indicator to see if it is moving. If the dial is moving, you probably have a leak.
- You can also take a meter reading and another one after a couple of hours. Make sure no water is used during this time. If the reading changes, you can be sure you have a leak.
Knowledge is Power
Identifying the source of water leaks is no mean task. However, doing so is important if you want to keep your health and house from falling prey to water damage. Some signs of leakage may be apparent, while others may be concealed. It is best to engage the services of water leak detection specialists, who will find the origin of the leak as well as the long-term solution for it.
Call Erica's Plumbing and Restoration for Professional Guidance
If you suspect you have a leak in your home or are certain a leak is present, our plumbing crew is on your side. Give us a call at (561) 245-7435 for prompt service. If the leak is particularly bad, we will prioritize your service call. Our plumbing crew is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In fact, you can even contact us online by filling out our online contact form.