Leak Detection Tips and Strategies

shutterstock_98585165Do you currently own a home? Is it a newer home, or one that is decades old? Depending upon the answer to that question, it may determine whether or not you have leaks in your pipes. For instance, if your home is new, the odds of having leaks and drips in your faucets and pipes would be low.

However, if you have purchased a fixer-upper, or if you have lived in your home for several decades, it’s always good to check for leaks every now and then.

The reason that you want to do this is because leaks can lead to extensive damage to your flooring, walls, and your basement area. It can even affect your foundation, and all of these problems can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Here are some tips and strategies on finding leaks on your own, and also how to hire a professional that can find them for you as well.

Easy Ways to Find Leaks

If you want to find leaks at your house, it’s a very simple process. All of us have a limited number of faucets and pipes that we can visually see which are typically located in the laundry room, kitchen, and bathrooms. By searching in these areas, you will be able to feel the pipes with your hands, and also visually see drips that are occurring.

If you detect a leak, check the wood adjacent to the pipes, and beneath them, to see if it is bubbling up. If it is, this is a clear sign that a problem is underway. You could have dry rot not only on the surface level, but further down or even in your walls. If you detect these types of problems on your own, there is a high probability that you have a more significant problem. At this point, you will want to call it professional to come check for leaks at your house.

 

Professional Plumbers and Leak Detection

Most plumbers will be willing to come out to your home and for a reasonable cost check to see if there are any leaks in your pipes, and if any damage is currently underway. They will actually crawl under your house, or go into your basement, to check the foundation for damage. They will make sure that all of the pipes that you have in your home, including water and sewer pipes are all tight and not leaking.

If they find damage, they can tell you where it is, so that you can contact a contractor in your area to do the repairs. The sooner that you do this type of inspection, the better off you will be with regard to preserving the stability of your home and also saving yourself a considerable amount of money.

Using these simple tips, you should be able to make sure that your house does not have any leaky pipe, dry rot problems, or any other issues that could lead to extensive damage to your home as a result of leaks that you have right now.

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Why Do I Have to Suffer the Perils of Leaking Pipes?

Wake up one morning to find those bathroom pipes leaking or the kitchen pipes dripping, and all hell breaks loose. Damage control is needed and fast, because leaking pipes are any homemaker or homeowner’s nightmare.

The issue can be a very serious one, and especially when you are alone at home and do not know what to do. A leaky pipe not only annoys someone, but can cause mammoth damage to the property and its surroundings when not taken care of in time. It would be so nice to have a plumber come over and fix the leaky issue as soon as possible, and save the house and its belongings too.  Imagine having a basement full of water overnight, just because you couldn’t have someone come over to check for pipe leak detection? Let’s not think about that!

Leaking Pipe

Reasons for Pipe Leaks

Change in weather or temperature – Most homeowners would agree to this and this happens because water by nature can contract and expand as the temperature changes. If there is a sudden shove of hot water thrown into the frozen cold pipes, expect nothing but a burst to happen. And if the pipes freezing overnight, the ice formation within can make it expand and boom goes the pipe.

Too much pressure – In some cases, Leaking Pipes have happened because of too much pressure on them. This is why it is expected of all homeowners to have their homes checked for pressure regulation in the pipes. A regulator should be installed, especially when your plumber has warned you beforehand of excessive pressure.

Corrosive Acts – As time flies by, the older water systems used can become prey to acts of corrosion. There would be rust that forms in the pipes and if that’s not taken out or treated, except Leaking Pipes. Corrosive acts can bring down the efficiency and quality of the pipes. Insulators are a must to have, or else electrolysis happens with the assembling of two different pipes, where corrosion can happen.

How do I know if there is a leak happening?

Did you feel some parts of the floor as hot or warm?

Did you blame your pet for wetting the carpet every hour?

Ever wondered about those patches on the walls and on the ceiling?

High water bills every month?

It makes sense now doesn’t it, because we have all faced these and experienced these signs time and again? And when we call a Pipe Leak Detection expert, they instantly check for such signs. This is when we hit our heads and wonder, why didn’t we think of noticing the signs. However, not that you know the signs; it would be wise to do your homework too.

Go online and check for more information on how to check for leaking pipes. There are experts who write about leaking pipes and how to detect them. Save yourself that costly damage, which leaking pipes can do. Go right ahead and figure things out before it figures out ways to rip your wallets.

Summary

It would be wise to speak with Pipe Leak Detection experts or learn more about their work. A stitch in time sure does save nine, and in this case, your house and all it’s valuables too.

Tracer Gas Leak Detection with Helium Gas

In the past, the leak detection companies had been used different gases in tracer gas leak detection method, e.g. ammonia or halogen gases. But today, most of the companies preferred to use helium gas to detect a leak because of its superior sensitivity. The mass spectrometer is used to detect the leak with helium gas that helps to ensure the leak.

Tracer Gas Detection

Characteristics of Helium Gas

  • Helium gas is very light so it can rapidly pass from small leaks when inserted into leaking pipes.
  • It is a noble gas so it does not react or combine with other elements which are under test.
  • It does not create any problem if it is spread in the environment because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless and nontoxic.
  • The very small amount of helium gas is present in atmosphere so the background noise is very low and the leak detector can hear the hissing sound clearly without any disturbance.

How Helium can Detect the Leak?

To detect the leak with Helium gas, the mass spectrometer is used and it can detect the presence of the gas by transforming the mass of gas into an electric signal. The spectrometer inserts ionized air into a curved tube immersed in a magnetic field. Only helium ions go through, while others are destroyed. The helium ions produced electric current and it is measured to quantify the leak.

Leak Test Methods with Helium Gas

There are three methods to detect the leak with tracing Helium gas. They are as follows.

Vacuum Test

The suspicious leaking part put into the chamber where a vacuum is created. With the pump pressure is created with Helium and the leak is measured through a mass spectrometer. In this test, there is no need of operators. This test can detect the leak in automatic systems such as evaporators, condensers, tubes, hoses, pipes, airbags, fuel tanks, thermostatic valves.

Sniffer Test

In this test, the part is pressurized with Helium and the sniffer probe is fitted on mass spectrometer and moved over the area of possible leaks. This test can be done manually or automatically. This test is used to detect the leak for those parts which can not be put inside a vacuum chamber such as refrigerators.

Bombing Test

This method can detect the leak from sealed parts of implantable devices and bulbs. The component placed in a high pressurized bombing chamber. If there is a leak in any part of the component then the Helium will enter into the device. Then the component will be placed in a vacuum chamber and in this vacuum chamber the amount of Helium is released and it is measured by the mass spectrometer. The bombing test cannot detect the small leaks.

How Water Leaks can Cause Health Problems

Sometimes we didn’t notice small leaks in our house and we can’t imagine that how a small leak can be dangerous for us and our property! It can cause much more damage just like a small creature can do. It spreads the musty smell in your home and perfect environment for molds. The molds can cause allergies, fever and other health problems. If you do not take action against those leaks then it can be very dangerous for your property and you possibly lose your assets.

water leak detectors

Increasing Mold

Leaks can cause moist areas and leads to increase of molds. There is no any surface that can prevent the increase of mold. The mold can grow on wall, window, tile, paint and many other water line areas. If the humidity in the environment is high then there is a high moisture in the air and it quickly increase the mold in that environment.

Effects on Health

Mold starts growing in wet areas and it causes health problems. The mold can cause allergic reactions and fever type symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and issues with breathing. The mold can also cause asthma attacks in people.

Signs of Mold

Small white and black spots in the leakage area indicate availability of mold. You can see these type of spots under leaky faucets, in kitchen sink, in the basement, under bathroom shower, on pipeline and many more other areas in your home. So, it is important to keep maintain all your water resources.

Fix Water Leak to Prevent Mold

If you have a water leak, find and fix it immediately. To locate water leak follow some DIY tips or call the water leak detectors to detect and fix the leaking sources. Wash all areas using detergent and dry the surface completely. To kill the substance, you can use boric acid but keep your children and pets away from that area.

Get Experts Help

To immediately locate and fix the water leak, contact your nearest plumber or you can also call water leak detectors. Sometimes the leaks are very difficult to find by ourselves so it can only done by professional leak detector or licensed plumber. They have so many experienced in detecting leaks and quickly fix it. They also gives you some tips to minimize the water leak problem in future.

Find Water Leaks with Acoustic Leak Detection

When the leak is exist in underground and pressurized pipes than it makes different sounds. To detect the leak first leak detector understand the leak sound that raised in or around the water pipe.

The “hish” or “whoosh” sounds identify vibration of pipe and pressure reduction.

Acoustic Leak Detection

If the water is flowing around the pipe than it will make “splashing” and “babbling brook” sounds.

If the water is striking on wall than you can hear the rapid “beating/thumping” sounds.

If there is a small leak in pipe than you can hear small “clinking” sounds.

The first “hish” and “whoosh” sounds says there is definitely a leak in pipe. The other sounds may not be present the leak and they are not as loud. The loudness of the sound affects on different factors of the pipe and surface. The pipe factors are: Pipe diameter, pipe material and the pressure of the pipe. The different surface like grass, depth of the soil, soil type and concrete surface can also affect on sound of leak.

Locating Leak with Acoustic Leak Detection

To locate the leak, leak detector hear the leak sound clearly. Where he find the loudest leak sound, me mark that location. To mark the exact location of leak, the leak detector uses electronic device with attached microphone. He moves on the  ground or street at the direction of water line. He continuing listening and moving on the ground till he did not find the loudest sound area. The leak detector can not adjust the sound volume, it has to be constant to compare with previous sound. After finding the leak location, the leak detector analyze the area and try to find more stronger location of leak compare to previous one.

The leak detectors are using advanced equipment and technology to detect a leak. As the software is attached to the device, it stores the data files. So, it can be used at later date. The leak detector will provide you well formatted and detail report of leak detection result after completion of leak detection service.

FAQs – Leak Detection

Q. How do I know if I have a leak in my home?

A. Following points can confirm your water leak.

  • When you enter in your home and you feel a musty atmosphere then you can say, I have a leak in my home.
  • When you visit your garden and you find wet grass then there is a leak in your underground pipe.
  • If you can hear a hissing sound from the pipe and continuous dripping sound from faucets then you have a leak.
  • If you find your water meter still running after closing all the taps and water sources then there is a leak.

Read more here about signs of water leaks.

Q. Is there any way to find the leak myself? Water Leak

A. Yes, you can find the leak yourself but only if you have a basic knowledge of plumbing work. You should know how to open and close water sources using plumbing equipment. You can apply some DIY solutions to find and repair the leak without damaging your property.

Q. If I have a leak and I can’t find myself then what I have to do?

A. If you have a leak and you can’t find yourself then it is confirmed that you have a hidden and difficult leak. In this situation, you need an expert leak detector who is able to detect any type of leak and who knows all the techniques of leak detection. Call the professional leak detection company and the expert will come to your home to detect the leak.

Q. How can I find a professional leak detection company?

A. Ask your friends and relatives if they already detect and fix the leaks by hiring a leak detection company. Get feedback about their work and then decide to call them. If no one knows about any leak detection company in your circle then you can find yourself from Google.

Q. What are the common sources of leaks?

A. The following are the most common sources of leaks:

Faucet, Shower, Underground pipes, Toilet, Sink, Pool, Hot Water Tank, Sewer Lines

Q. What is the cost of leak detection service?

A. The cost of the leak detection service depends upon the leak that is how difficult it is, the person needed for leak detection and the time it will take.

Q. How much time leak detection will take?

A. Most of the leaks will detect in 1 to 2 hours. It will only take more than 2 hours if it is hidden leak and too difficult to find.

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DIY Tips to Confirm and Find the Water Leak

We receive our water bill every month and it is at the base of our water usage. We have seen so many times in an increase of the water bill amount but we didn’t try to find out the reason of increased bill. One of the most common reasons of increased bill is a water leak problem in your home. Before taking any action against it you have to confirm that you have a leaking source in somewhere in your home. The following steps can help you to confirm your water leak. leaking faucet

  • First, close all your water sources and make sure all connections of water are not loose.
  • Locate your water meter and note down the numbers displayed on the meter.
  • Wait for 2 hours and again read the meter. If the number between the two readings is high then you have a water leak somewhere in your water sources or pipeline.
  • The difference between two readings shows how many water have been wasted.

Now, there are so many resources in your home that use water and connected with water pipe lines. How can you find the exact source of water leak? First, you have to list out all water sources and check one by one manually. Here, I write some of the most common water sources and some DIY tips to find the  leak location.

Toilet

To check the water leak in the toilet, remove the top of the tank and try to hear a hissing sound of water. If you heard any sound then it confirms that you have a leak somewhere in the tank of your toilet. Also check the outside of the toilet, if you see green walls then this is a clean sign of a water leak. Immediately call the water leak detectors to detect the exact location of the leak.

Shower Head

It is very easy to find the leak in the shower. You can clearly see the leak if it exists. It is because of the shower head not tightly attached to the pipe. So, you can fix this problem yourself. If you can’t then call the plumber.

Check Your Garden

Visit your garden, if you find wet grasses then there is a leak somewhere in your pipeline that is near your garden or under the garden. That indicates you have a very big problem. Finding leaks in underground pipelines is a difficult task for you. Take the immediate decision and call the expert nearest leak detectors.

Swimming Pool

To check the water leak in the swimming pool, mark the water level of the pool using tap or pencil. Check the mark after 24 hours. If you find your pool is loosing more than ¼ inch then it is confirmed that you have a leaking pool. To fix the leak, find the best leak detector and call him to check your pool.