When we come to your home or business to locate a leak, the first thing we do is determine the plumbing’s general layout and examine various telltale signs regarding the leak. An experienced plumber can narrow down the leak’s location significantly, even before using any detection equipment. Sometimes the indicators are obvious, such as a wet spot on the ceiling or wall. But that is only a general indicator, as the wet spot may result from a leak that has migrated along a pipe, possibly from another floor of the building.
A leaking pipe or fitting inside a wall can be difficult to pinpoint without cutting holes in the wall. We use infrared detection devices to spot water leaks and several other problems, such as damaged insulation, electrical hot spots, pest infestations, and mold. With non-invasive infrared scanning, we can locate and identify the leak’s source without experimental cuts in the wall. Only one access hole needs to be cut to address the repair.
A slab leak presents a number of difficulties and is one of the worst plumbing problems a homeowner might encounter. A slab leak is a designation for a leak in the pipes under a building’s concrete foundation. They can result in extensive water waste, and eventually foundation damage.
Slab leaks are a challenging plumbing repair because they can be difficult to locate and difficult to reach. In some situations, jackhammering through the concrete may be necessary, but it may be possible to use lateral tools to avoid slab demolition. Also, rather than repairing the existing pipe route, we may install new pipes around the original ones, bypassing the leaking section and saving demolition. Having located the leak, we also learn the size and type of the failure, allowing us to form a repair plan.
There are certain characteristic noises that leaking pipes make, with the “whooshing” sound as the only one consistently found in pressurized water lines (pressure greater than 30 PSI). Pressurized water lines with a leak may also make one or more of the following sounds:
Once our technicians have established the plumbing location and layout, they will walk along the path of the suspected pipe with an acoustic listening device. Based on the ground microphone information, the exact leak location is determined by observing where the leak sounds are the loudest. They will take readings every 3 or 4 feet along the length of the pipe. Once directly over the location of the leak, it may be possible for them to pinpoint it by using hearing alone or, if necessary, with the help of the visual metering function of the detection device. The meter will show the area of peak response, and once that found, the location of the leak will be marked on the ground or floor with paint or flags.
In these instances, pressure sensors or remote video detection may be the preferred method. It takes experience and a trained ear to recognize the subtle sounds of water leaks through an amplified listening device, and our technicians are industry experts at this method.If your leak is under your driveway or sidewalk, it may be easier to locate than if it were under your foundation. Leaks outside the building will be from the main water line, which is typically large diameter and under fairly high pressure. Jackhammering is the likely method for accessing the problem. Still, as with the interior leak situation, it may be possible to bypass existing plumbing lines with newly routed pipe, avoiding the demolition of your concrete. Driveway and sidewalk cement is often segmented into squares or rectangles, meaning you will not have to have the entire driveway or sidewalk demolished. After locating the leak, you will likely only have to have one section of the concrete removed and replaced.
If you have a simple water leak under concrete, the average cost of locating it will be between $200 and $400. This will vary, depending on how remote the leak’s location is and the time and methods needed to pinpoint the exact spot. You might anticipate an additional 10 to 20% increase in this figure if a general contractor oversees the entire repair and restoration project. Remember that leak detection is only the preliminary first step in solving the problem. Related expenses will include the demolition and removal of concrete, cutting of access holes in walls, the plumbing repair itself, repair and restoration of the concrete or household materials. Once we have identified your water leak source, we document our results, and this documentation may be provided to your insurance company as proof of necessary repairs.