If your home smells musty or you've noticed an increase in bugs that are drawn to moisture such as silverfish, then you might have a hidden plumbing leak. Pipe leaks can go unnoticed when they aren't under a sink or in a pipe that's in the open and that you can see every day. Finding a hidden leak can be a real challenge because the leak might be under a concrete slab or under the ground. A plumber can find the leak no matter where it is using leak detecting equipment. Here are some things to look for if you think you have a water leak and how a plumber can help locate the source of the leak.
Signs of a Plumbing Leak in Your Home
If the leak is very big, you'll notice an increase in your water bill, and if the leak is in a hot water pipe, you might notice a jump in your electric bill too if it causes your hot water heater to run continuously. Small leaks might not cause an increase in your water bill that gives cause for alarm, but you can pick up on other signs of water damage in your home instead. If a pipe is leaking behind a wall or ceiling, you may see discoloration or a wet spot as you'd see with a roof leak.
A leak under the floor might cause a localized area of cooler or hotter temperatures where the water is leaking out. When there's a leak under the slab in the basement, water might seep up through the concrete and make puddles on the floor. You might even hear a faint whooshing noise that you can't pinpoint that's caused by water running even when the faucets are all turned off. These signs should all be checked by a plumber since they might indicate water is leaking and causing damage to your home.
Ways a Plumber Can Find a Water Leak
An instrument your plumber might use first is a moisture meter. If you suspect you have a water leak, but you're not sure, a moisture meter can settle the question by showing the amount of moisture in a wall or floor. A high reading signals the need for further investigation. There are a couple of methods for finding a hidden water leak the plumber might try next. One uses a thermal camera to find temperature changes on the floors and walls. Another uses sound waves to listen for changes in the sound of water flowing through the pipes.
It doesn't matter if the cold water or the hot water is leaking, the water that comes out of the pipe will have a different temperature than the area that surrounds it. This makes it possible to use a thermal camera to map the temperature changes on a wall, ceiling, or floor. This helps narrow down the area of the leak, and it can also reveal if the leak is hot or cold water. To find the precise point of the leak, a plumber can listen along the suspected area with an ultrasonic device. The pitch of the water flowing through the pipe will change as soon as the listening device is right over the source of the leak.
Hiring a plumbing service like Calhoun Plumbing to find the exact area of the leak is the first step in making repairs. Without this knowledge, you'd have to tear out walls and flooring and manually hunt for the leak. If you suspect you have a water leak and you can't figure out where it is, don't delay and allow water damage to occur. A plumber will detect the location of the leak so repairs can be made.