Leaks and Leak Detection
Plumbing leaks can be a major cause of stress for property owners. They can be costly, time consuming, and overall problematic. Not only are leaks troublesome for you, they can have negative impacts on the environment. In this age of increasingly dwindling supply, water wastage is a serious issue.
Studies show that 10% of US homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water or more on a daily basis. Annually, this translates to nearly 10,000 gallons of wasted water per household or 1 trillion gallons of water in total nationwide!
To put this in another perspective, wastage on household leaks alone can cover water usage of more than 11 million homes!
For the good of all, leaks should be dealt with as quickly as possible. Some leaks, whether from pipes, plumbing fixtures, or fittings are easy to see and fix. However, many leaks go undetected, even going on for years, because the source is not visible.
If you suspect you have a leak somewhere on your property, calling an expert immediately can save you a great deal of money and trouble.
Common Types of Leaks
Most homes and buildings in Southern California are built on a concrete slab foundation where utility lines including water and cables are embedded. This is because a slab foundation is faster and less expensive to construct. With earthquakes being a common occurrence, this kind of foundation makes buildings less susceptible to tremors.
Unfortunately, when the concrete foundation develops a crack or puncture, slab leaks can occur. This is the most serious kind of leak, as it can result in a huge water bill and can potentially be costly to repair. Slab leaks are commonly seen as large, unexplained puddles on the floor.
Slab leak detection and repair is crucial as leaving it unaddressed may cause further damage to a home’s plumbing system. In the worst case scenario slab leaks can cause your foundation to collapse.
Pipe leaks are a common source of water damage and can manifest in various forms and locations on your property. Being aware of the causes and signs of pipe leaks can help pinpoint and address the problem. Sometimes, something as simple as a leaky faucet may be a sign of more serious problems within your pipes.
What causes pipe leaks?
Foundation shifts can cause movement in your water lines that results in pipes disconnecting or rupturing.
High water pressure causes wear and tear on pipes which may lead to pinholes developing. If undetected, these small holes may lead to burst pipes.
Corrosion may occur in older homes where copper or galvanized steel piping have been used, as these are susceptible to rusting.
Hard water can also affect the integrity of pipes. Hard water is mineral heavy, and these microscopic particles scrape against the inside of pipes causing damaging wear and tear.
The pH value of the water in your area likewise may cause corrosion. If water is slightly acidic, this will eat away at the pipe lining and weaken the pipes in your home or building.
Telltale Signs of Pipe Leaks
A building’s plumbing system is complex. Pipes run under floors, behind walls, and overhead in ceilings. This makes it difficult to detect water leaks or pinpoint where they are originating from.
While the sound of dripping water may lead directly to the source, most often, a bit of investigation is needed to determine where the problem lies.
Here are common signs of leaking pipes:
Increased Water Bill. If your water bill has increased considerably without any change in your water usage habits, a pipe leak is the most likely cause.
Wet Patches on Floors or Walls. A common sign of a water leak is wet spots on floors or walls where water pipes run. Watch out, as well, for wet puddles inside sink cabinets.
Low Water Pressure. If you suddenly find the shower or faucets running weak, this is a sign that there is a water leak somewhere in your plumbing system.
This sign can actually help you detect the location of the leak. If all faucets and fixtures in your home experience decreased water pressure, the leak will most likely be on the outside. If it affects only one particular faucet or fixture, look for the leak nearby.
Sound of Flowing Water. Hearing the sound of water flowing spells big trouble when no faucets or appliances are on. When this happens, contact a plumber immediately to prevent further damage.
Other telltale signs to watch out for that may indicate leaks:
Mold or Mildew under the flooring or carpet. Watch out for a moldy smell, as well.
Hot areas on the floor.
Standing water around the perimeter of the home.
Soggy spots near the foundation.
Moving water meter dial even when all water faucets or appliances are not in use.
It is important to keep a vigilant eye for any sign of leaks or plumbing issues. Early leak detection prevents even small issues from developing into costly problems later on.
Whole House Meter Check
If you suspect a leak in your plumbing system, you may perform a meter check to confirm if there is a problem. A whole house meter check can sometimes inform you of a leak and its flow rate, but does not usually indicate where the leak is occurring. You may perform this yourself or your plumber can do this check for you.
How is it done? There are several crucial steps for this leak detection method to work:
Locate the water meter in your home.
Turn off the water inside and outside of the home. Ensure that automatic water equipment, including irrigation controllers, clothes washers, dishwashers and similar equipment are not in use.
Take an initial reading of the water meter. Wait for 15 minutes while ensuring that no water outlets are faucets are turned on during this time.
Take another meter reading. If the meter shows usage, there is a possibility of a leak in your home.
Electronic Leak Detection
Once a leak is confirmed, it is not always easy to pinpoint the exact location. It is best to leave this task to professionals who have specialized equipment to aid in leak detection.
In the past, plumbers used a device similar to a stethoscope to locate the origin of the pipe leak. Today, plumbers use electronic leak detection equipment that takes the guesswork out of the process. It is run over a flat surface where it can pick up sounds in the spaces between walls and floors.
It uses a computer software that uses the frequencies of sound produced by leaking water and sends information to the plumber, who determines the cause of the sound. Based on experience, the plumber is able to determine if the leak is due to a cracked pipe, loose gasket, or a leaky faucet.
Aside from determining the cause of the leak, the electronic leak detection device can more accurately pinpoint the location of the leak. Experienced plumbers are able to use the information so they cause minimal damage to your home to perform repairs.
Why Early Leak Detection is Important?
Addressing a leaky pipe problem early can prevent a major plumbing disaster and save you thousands of dollars in repairs. Here are just some ways unrepaired leaky pipes can seriously damage your home:
Warped or stained walls. These are not only unsightly, they can lower the value of your home. If you have plans of putting it up for sale in the market, you may not be able to demand the price you want for it.
In addition, replacing the wall and the plumbing behind it can be a major expense as well.
Mold Growth. Leaking pipes cause extra moisture to accumulate in areas in your home. This can lead to mold growth. To people who are vulnerable, this poses a serious health risks.
Mold remediation is also an expensive process. It is best to address a leaky pipe problem before a serious mold infestation occurs.
Flooding. Water damage repair is costly. It is much more affordable to spend on early leak detection and repairs before unaddressed pipe leaks and plumbing problems become a major problem.
Foundation Collapse. As already mentioned above, slab leaks should be addressed as soon as possible. Unaddressed issues can lead to more plumbing issues. More seriously, it can affect the integrity of your home’s foundation.
For Leak Detection and Assistance, Call Us Now
If you notice any of the above signs, or have reason to suspect a leak in your home or property, call Honor Plumbing for expert assistance.
Leaks have the potential to cause major damage and incur high repair costs. Early detection and action can prevent much larger troubles.
Call Honor Plumbing now at 866-245-9313 for questions or assistance. We are glad to help!
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