What is Leak detection?
Leak detection likely isn’t top of mind for many businesses or homeowners until they notice damage to their yard or property. South Florida leak detection services can be used to reveal a leak in piping systems that transport liquids or gas. When properly maintained, most pipeline networks will last decades. Unfortunately, eroding and excavation accidents can occur, and if not addressed right away, cause leaks that can be detrimental to the foundation of your home, infrastructure of city streets, or pose a health risk to nearby neighborhoods.
A major advantage of a leak detection system is that it allows workers to pinpoint where a leak has occurred and make the necessary repairs with as little disruption to service or unsightly digging as possible. Leak detection can be completed on a number of piping materials, meaning your home or office is a likely candidate for the service. When ignored even the smallest of leaks can create severe damage so it’s important to get your lines checked regularly to ensure their health and functionality.
Water Leak Detection
A dripping faucet is pretty easy to recognize, but not all leaks are as easy to spot. Water leaks that occur underground or beneath concrete slabs can go unnoticed until serious damage is evident. The good news is, a leak in your water line doesn’t necessarily call for destructive water leak detection that leaves deep trenches in your yard or rumbles of concrete near your home. Specialized technologies used by the Pipe Surgeons team include:
Hydrostatic Technology: A hydrostatic test on your plumbing or pipelines involves filling the pipes with a liquid, typically water, and pressurizing the pipe in the specific area that needs to be tested. The water is often dyed a fluorescent color to allow for easier detection of a leak. Pressure tightness is evaluated by turning off the water valve and noting if there’s a loss of pressure. The plumbing’s strength is also evaluated by looking for permanent deformation in the pipes.
Smoke Testing: Smoke testing is one of the best ways to test the main water line, as well as lateral lines. Cities often use smoke testing in maintenance plans of aging infrastructure. This test typically uses a smoke candle and blower. The smoke is created through a chemical reaction and travels through the piping system. The smoke is very visible, making it easy to detect leaks. Signs, mailers, and public notices of other types are typically made throughout a municipality that plans smoke testing so residents are prepared to see the smoke and won’t confuse it was an active fire or other potential danger.
Low-Pressure Air Test: Using pressurized air is a quick and effective way to test the integrity of newly installed water pipes. This test calls for all stub-outs to be capped and air to be pushed into the pipeline. The air is left in the system for about 15 minutes while observation is completed to ensure no reduction in pressure occurs during that time. Existing plumbing can also undergo air testing. The main water valve is shut off, all water drained, and a pressure gauge attached to a connecting faucet. Pressurized air is pushed into the pipes, revealing a leak if the pressure gauge changes during the 15-minute test period. Camera Inspection: Sewer camera inspection isn’t just for clogged pipes. The cameras allow for a non-intrusive way to get eyes into your pipelines and search for the presence of corrosion, leaks, and cracks that can cause major damage.
Pipe Surgeons professionals use a number of trenchless inspection and repair methods to ensure your leak is quickly detected and repaired with quality materials.
Gravity Pipe Leak Detection
Gravity energy can be used in large or small piping systems. Used often in city sewer systems, a gravity sewer utilizes the energy created from the difference in elevation and is a popular choice for municipalities because it creates no energy costs where favorable grades are present.
Gravity pipe leak detection is done through law-pressure air testing. Leaks and damaged joints are revealed by measuring the rate at which air under pressure escapes from an isolated section of sewer. The test is completed as a quality assurance method following installation of sewer pipes and as regular maintenance practice to ensure the pipes are free of corrosion and other damage.
Signs You Have a Water Leak
Whether you’ve lived in a home or owned a business for decades, or just moved in, there are signs you may have a leak in your water system. While professional leak detection in south Florida will help you solve the problem, you don’t want to miss warning signs in and around your home or business before the damage becomes severe.
Early detection is the best way to prevent major damage, save money, and possibly avoid tearing up your yard and parking lot for major repairs. Slab leaks, untreated over time, can begin to eat at the foundation of a property, creating structural damage, and possibly making the property unsafe. Here are the top signs you may have a water leak:
Sudden spike in water bill: A sudden, unexplained increase in your water bill may be the result of a newly formed leak. Any leak creates water waste, lower pressure, and higher monthly bills. Water flows 24⁄7 when there is a leak in your plumbing, so the significant water usage change noted on your utility bill is your first indicator that you have a leak.
Water pools in unlikely places: A slab leak will cause water to accumulate under your home or business’ foundation until it finds a way to seep out. When the water escapes, it will pool in or near your home. Often times, the water will appear as if it’s coming from underneath your home, so if there are no hoses or other water sources in that area, a leak is possible. Water can also creep inside your home and pool on the floor – most likely the bathroom or kitchen. If you notice this and can determine that no appliances or toilet is leaking, the water may be pushing from beneath your slab foundation.
Warped hardwood floors or damp carpet: If a leak has occurred beneath your home’s slab foundation, the spewing water may have nowhere to go but up. The water will eventually prove itself by damaging your flooring. Carpet floors can become damp, so keep an eye out for dark spots and pay special attention to the corners of rooms. Hardwood floors may be more noticeable as a leak will cause the board to warp or curl.
Visible presence or smell of mold or mildew: A slab leak that pushes water into your home will quickly cause mold and mildew to form. Even if you don’t have carpet, mold can form in the insulation of the home or business, which is why it’s important to pay attention if the air quality begins to diminish. If a musty, mildew smell begins to take over your living room, call a leak detection company in south Florida to check it out.
Decrease in water pressure: When water is pouring from a leak under your property, that means less water is traveling to the faucet or shower head you use each day. A sudden decrease in water pressure is a sure sign that corrosion or a leak is taking your water.
Hot water heater constantly running: A hot water leak beneath your property will force your hot water heater to run constantly to keep up with demand. This type of leak is the same as letting your hot water run through the faucet non-stop. If your water heater is constantly running, it’s time to check for a leak.
Areas of floor get hot: If there is a hot water leak under your property’s foundation, that continuously spilling water will eventually begin to heat the bottom of your floors, creating a temperature difference in your flooring. Carpet may make it difficult to detect the warmer spots, but hardwood, linoleum, or tile flooring will quickly transfer the heat. If your pet begins to lie in an unusual spot, one room of your home feels warmer than others, or you notice a difference in temperature by walking on the floor, a slab leak is possible.
How to Test For a Leak in Plumbing
If you’ve experienced one or more of the warning signs above within your home or business, take the time to test for a leak and then call a St. Lucia leak detection specialist. You can test for a leak in your home’s plumbing by checking your water meter. Follow the steps below:
- Step 1: Turn off all appliances that use water and ensure no water is running inside your home.
- Step 2: Go outside and find the water meter attached to your property. The meter is usually connected to the side of the home or business and each meter is designed a little differently.
- Step 3: Remove the water meter cover by lifting it open or by using a screwdriver if needed.
- Step 4: Check the numbers on your meter to determine if you have a leak. The top of the meter is typically a dial and there are a number of parts on the meter that move when water is being used. The smallest dial, usually indicated by a red triangle, is often called the “leak dial.” If no water is being used, none of the dials should move. However, if the leak dial continues to run, you have a water leak somewhere within your plumbing.
Even if the numbers do not appear to be moving, it’s a good idea to write down the current numbers and keep your water off for about 30 minutes. Go back and check the numbers after that time to see if anything has changed. It may take a few minutes for a small leak to reveal itself.
Leaks under a home or slab are often the most difficult to detect. If you’ve eliminated possible sources of a running water noise or cause of an increased water bill (like a leaking toilet, faucet, or appliance), call a professional team to come to your home for non-intrusive leak detection.
How to Prevent Plumbing Leaks
The pipes in and beneath your home rarely get attention unless there’s a problem. But routine plumbing maintenance and yearly checkups can help your pipes operate more smoothly and allow you to detect emerging issues before they become costly problems.
Spring and fall months are the best times of the year to schedule your plumbing checkup. Ensuring your home or business plumbing is functioning properly before summer vacation or holiday celebrations will leave you less concerned about possible issues and allow you to avoid making an emergency plumber call in the middle of the night or during Thanksgiving dinner.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Leaks?
Don’t bypass plumbing maintenance because you think your homeowners insurance will cover any damages. While it’s true most policies cover sudden, unexpected leaks, there are a number of situations that could cause your claim to be denied. When you file a claim for water damage to your property, an insurance adjuster will come to the home or business to determine that cause and cost of the damage. The adjuster will consider:
- Location of the pipe that had the leak
- If the damage was created by an old or new leak
- Signs of deterioration that could have served as a warning of a future leak: rust, deformation, roots growing around the pipes
- What caused the leak: old age, wear and tear, roots from nearby trees
Part of the reason for going into such depth when examining your claim is to determine if the leak could have been prevented. If a lack of maintenance contributed to the leak and consequential damage, your insurance provider may deny coverage.
Preventative care is the best way to avoid damage and costly repairs for your South Florida home or property. Request your free estimate for plumbing care from the Pipe Surgeons. When you request leak detection as part of your property care, our team will work to find and resolve the issue with as little disruption to your property as possible. Contact Pipe Surgeons now to avoid water damage in the future.