Water leak detection is more complicated than it might seem at first but left unresolved, it will raise your bill and cause serious damage to your property. Water leaks are pretty common so having an annual inspection of your plumbing system will help keep your pipes in good shape and address any issues in their early stages.
If you suspect you may have a leak there are a few things you can do yourself to verify your suspicion or resolve the leak all together. In this article we will go over a few of these methods and goods practises.
How to Detect a Water Leak
Compare your water bills. Your water bills might be an indicator that there is a leak somewhere in your system. Though it is perfectly normal for your water bill to slightly fluctuate, if it seems like it is constantly increasing while your usage is not, the extra water is probably leaking out somewhere along the pipes.
Check your water meter. The fastest and easiest way to check for a water leak is by checking your water meter. Water meters very accurately measure the flow of all water entering your property. To do this, firstly turn off all the water fixtures in your home or business. This includes laundry and washing machines as well as sprinklers. Once no water is running and being used your water meter reading should stay the same. Slow leaks may take time to affect your water meter so wait a couple hours and check your meter again for any changes. If your meter reading increased while no water has been used, this is a sure sign of a water leak in your plumbing system.
Check your flapper. The flapper is the rubber stopper that seals the water in your toilet’s tank and raises to release water when you flush. It is also the leading cause of a leaky toilet. Toilet flappers wear out over time, especially when you insert bleach tabs into your tank. If you suspect a water leak in your home, this is a vital place to check. To test your toilet simply drop a few drops of food coloring into your toilet’s water tank and wait a few minutes. If the food coloring shows up in your toilet bowl, then you’ll know your flapper needs replacing, as it is not providing a full seal, allowing water to leak out when the toilet is not in use. Toilets can account for over 30% of your water usage, so don’t overlook this problem as it can cost you heavily over time.
Check your walls and cabinets near faucets. A leak near your kitchen sink or in the laundry room can cause bubbling in your walls, or furniture, wet stains, mold and unpleasant odors. Being vigilant and on the lookout for these signs, is key to catch and fix a leak before it causes more severe damage to your property.
Connect a water pressure gauge. A water pressure gauge measures the water pressure in your plumbing system. Turn off your main and connect the pressure gauge to a spigot in one of your fixtures. For example under your bathroom sink, to your cold tap. The location of the spigot doesn’t matter, be it your bathroom or kitchen, but it’s a good idea to choose the cold tap as it is supplied straight from your main and will indicate pressure change quicker. Once you’ve connected the pressure gauge, note the water pressure level and wait a few hours. If the water pressure drops, this is an indication that the water is leaking out.
Listen for pinholes. Pinholes leaks are tiny leaks in your copper pipes that can develop over time. Because they are so small they can be difficult to detect, while still causing a serious leak problem. To locate these pinholes you will need an air compressor, a hose and a good ear. First, turn off the main water supply and all the valves in your fixtures. Remove one of the hoses connected to the cold tap spigot and replace it with a hose from a compressor. Turn on your compressor and let it pump air into your pipes until it reaches 120 PSI. Turn off your compressor and listen. The air will escape through the pinholes in your pipes creating a whistling sound, which will allow you to identify their location.
Though in some instances you can identify and resolve a leak yourself, other scenarios might pose a bigger challenge. An undetected and unresolved water leak will raise your bill, further damage your pipes potentially causing them to burst and harm your property by causing water damage and molding. Here at VIP Drain Services, our trained professionals are available 24/7 for your plumbing emergencies and we offer water leak detection services! If you suspect you have a leak, call us and schedule an appointment!