If your water bill is higher than usual and you're sure you aren't using more water, your plumbing might have a leak. A small leak that never stops can run up your water bill, although the larger the leak, the higher your bill. You may need to hire a water leak detection service to verify your plumbing is leaking and to pinpoint the location of the leak. Here are some ways to find a plumbing leak.
Look For Signs
Your plumber might get a general idea of where the leak is located by looking for signs. A leak under your slab might give itself away with water stains on the floor or a damp and mildewy carpet. A leak outdoors can cause a patch of grass to be lush and green when compared with the rest of your lawn.
A leak behind the wall can cause the wall to discolor or the drywall might bubble and crack. However, water can travel far from the source of the leak, so more precise methods of leak detection are also needed.
Use Leak-Detecting Equipment
A plumber can use a variety of equipment to hunt down a leak. They might use a pipe camera, electronic listening device, or thermal camera. A pipe camera can locate the exact spot of the leak by sending a signal to the surface above where the camera stops. A listening device can be used to listen for a change in sounds that indicates a pipe leak. Using these methods, the plumber can verify a leak is present and then locate the source.
Run Plumbing Tests
Since most of the pipes in your home are probably out of sight, your plumber might need to run tests to find the leak, especially if there are no outward signs. Leak detection tests include the helium test and the hydrostatic pressure test. To do the helium test, the plumber drains the pipe of water and pumps in a helium mixture. A helium detection device is then used to sweep the line to look for where the helium is escaping.
A hydrostatic test involves using an inflatable device in the main sewer line to block the line. The plumbing pipes are then filled with water and watched. If there's a leak in your plumbing, the water level drops. This verifies there is a leak, and the next step is to seal off sections of your home until the location of the leak is discovered.
Using leak detection equipment and tests makes it possible for your plumber to find leaks in pipes that can't be seen. Without leak detection, the plumber might have to dig up pipes or open your walls until the leak is found, and that would be very disruptive and expensive.