Your property’s water pipes run under your foundation or into your slab to keep you connected to the city’s water main. If a leak occurs in these pipes, it could take some time before you find out about it. Locating a leak can be difficult on your own, but doing so will help the professionals coming out to repair it.
What Causes Underground Water Leaks
Your water pipes may fail over time from erosion caused by water or soil chemicals. Cracks and holes allow water to leach out and drain into the soil, the slab or your home. Earthquakes and other natural disasters that shift the ground can put too much pressure on the water lines or crack them outright. The water could start moving the soil away from your slab. Your property could end up becoming an unsafe place to live due to structural issues or health concerns.
DIY Underground Water Leak Detection
You have several ways to detect a leak without expensive equipment. One of the most effective methods involves your water meter. Go around your house and turn off every water fixture. Check them for leaks while you do this. Physically inspect any accessible water pipes for corrosion, damage, moisture or other signs indicating failure. If everything looks good, confirm that no toilets are running. Now go to your water meter and see if it’s spinning.
You won’t know exactly where the leak is, but you confirmed its existence for the professionals. Walk around the house and listen for running water. You may be able to get a general idea of the problem area.
Go through your water bills to narrow down when the pipes got damaged. A sudden spike in usage can give you the information you need to figure out how long water is making its way into your slab or the surrounding soil. Long-term problems often result in higher repair bills, as the water damage can spread throughout your house or even shift the slab.
Consider the relative humidity of your home. Does it feel too humid in your home, as though you have a steamy shower in every room? Is there condensation on the inside of your windows or moisture on your walls? A hydrometer, commonly used in cigar humidors, is an inexpensive way to check these levels. Typically, you want 35 to 50 percent humidity.
Mold and mildew can grow on walls, ceilings, baseboards and other locations in your house that are affected by the leak. Cracks on the walls and ceilings can indicate your slab is shifting due to the soil movement from the extra water. Water stains are another telltale sign that something is going wrong, although these are also a symptom of other types of damage.
Did your water pressure suddenly drop in your shower or you go through hot water far quicker than before? If you don’t have another cause pointing to these symptoms, such as a water heater issue or a broken shower head, you may have an underground leak on your hands.
If your hot water pipe is the broken one, you have an easier time trying to pinpoint the leak location. You can feel hot spots due to the heat of the water, which allows you to point professionals in the right direction.
What to Expect From a Professional Leak Detection Company
The minute you think that you’re dealing with an underground leak, you need a professional leak detection company to locate the spot with specialty equipment. If you have an idea of the problem pipe, point them in that direction. You can decrease the time it takes to evaluate the extent of the problem and the best way to fix it.
The professionals use infrared cameras, sound equipment and additional leak detection tools to discover what’s going on without breaking through the concrete in the slab.
Questions to Ask a Professional Leak Detection Company
Before you hire a company to get to the bottom of your water leak, you need to choose the right people for the job. Here are a few questions to ask, so you get the service you need to start addressing this problem.
- Do you guarantee that you will find the leak? You don’t want a company to come out to your house and leave without discovering the leak location.
- How much do you charge? Leak detection service pricing ranges based on how many leaks you have and where they’re positioned.
- Do you charge by the hour or have a flat-rate payment? Get a thorough understanding of their pricing structure before you select a professional.
- Can you handle the repair as well as the underground leak detection? When one company can handle both parts of this process, it’s convenient and well-coordinated.
- Are you water damage and/or mold certified? Even when you know the signs of an underground water leak, they can avoid detection for months. Your property may have mold growth or water damage which needs remediating for a complete repair.
Figuring out where you’re losing water isn’t a simple task, but you make life easier for your plumber when you give them a starting point. Start checking your house for potential leaks today and minimize the potential damage.