What Is The Best Leak Detection Method?

Plumbing leaks are a serious problem that has the potential to do lots of damage and/or lead to major mold issues. The issue is that most leaks can be extremely difficult to detect and locate since most of a home’s pipes are hidden. That is why plumbers use specialized equipment and advanced leak detection methods that make the process of locating the leak much easier and less time consuming, and this guide will explain what the most effective options for professional leak detection are.

Thermal Imaging

Some types of plumbing leaks will quickly result in certain telltale signs that make it fairly easy to determine exactly where the water is coming from. If there is visible evidence of a leak, such as yellow or brown stains on a sheetrock wall or ceiling or wet spots on the sheetrock, a plumber may be able to at least narrow down the possible location of the leak. However, you really don’t want to have to cut out more of the sheetrock than is absolutely necessary since more work will then need to be performed to redo everything once the leak has been fixed.

This is why plumbers will often use a thermal imaging camera to essentially look through the wall, floor or ceiling to determine the exact location of the leak. Whether the leak is in a hot or cold pipe, the water will show up on the camera as a different temperature than the surrounding area. This means that the plumber will use the camera to check for any hot or cold spots and quickly be able to pinpoint exactly where the leak is without needing to cut any holes or do any demolition. While it will still be necessary to cut through the sheetrock or even a concrete floor to access the pipe and repair the leak, the amount of work that needs to be done will be much less since the plumber the precise location of the leak.

Acoustic Leak Detection

While thermal imaging is definitely a useful tool, not all leaks may show up on the camera. This is why plumbers typically also use acoustic leak detection. This method involves using a special listening disc that amplifies sound. With this method, the plumber will place the disc against a wall, floor or ceiling and listen for the sound of a leak using headphones. The listening disc is so sensitive that the plumber will easily be able to hear the sound of running or dripping water behind sheetrock, appliances or even through concrete or brick. This makes it an extremely effective method for detecting and locating underground slab leaks that can otherwise be nearly impossible to spot and may remain undetected for a long time.

Soil Probes

Leaks in a home’s main water line or main sewer line can also be extremely difficult to detect and locate since these pipes are buried fairly deep underground. A large leak is something you’ll usually be able to spot fairly quickly since it will often result in lots of standing water in the yard or lead to the basement or crawl space flooding. Even if there is a large leak, you will still want to pinpoint its exact location so that you don’t need to have your entire yard dug up. This is where a soil probe can be extremely useful.

A soil probe is another type of listening device that allows plumbers to easily locate small and large underground leaks. It is most effective at detecting leaks in a main water line, but it can sometimes also be used to detect sewer line leaks. When water is leaking out of a pressurized pipe, it causes the surrounding soil to essentially vibrate and produce sound. To detect and locate leaks, the plumber will insert the probe into the ground in the area where the underground pipe is located. They can then listen for vibrations and determine how close the probe is to the leak by how loud the sound is. This allows them to pinpoint the exact location and depth of the leak, and it can also allow them to determine how serious the leak is and what the best option is for repairing it.

Camera Inspections

Camera inspections are also a useful tool for locating leaks in a water line, drain pipe or sewer line. This method involves inserting a camera that is connected to a long fiber optic cable into any type of pipe. The plumber will then monitor the live video feed as they push the camera through the pipe to check for any holes, breaks or other damaged sections of pipe that allow water to leak out. Camera inspections are especially useful for identifying and locating sewer line leaks without needing to dig up the yard to access the pipe. Depending on the severity of damage to the pipe, the plumber may even be able to use some method of trenchless repair to fix the problem with little to no digging.

Rosenberg Plumbing & Air is the most trusted home service provider in the San Antonio area, and we’re ready to handle all of your plumbing and HVAC needs. Whether you’re dealing with a leaky pipe, an air conditioner that isn’t working effectively or you need any other plumbing, heating or cooling service, contact us today to get the prompt, professional help you need.

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