Many residential homes leak water without the owner being aware of it. If the homeowner is observant he might see puddles where there should be none, notice a drop in service pressure or get charged an abnormally high water bill. The owner will try to find the source of the leak to get it repaired and only when he fails will he consider asking for professional pipeline leak detection. There are many companies who offer the service including plumbing repair companies and some which exclusively do only pipeline leak detection.
There are advantages to at least attempting to detect pipeline leaks yourself. The most obvious advantage is cost. Why pay for testing when you can do it yourself? Then there is also the chance to estimate how much money corrective measures would cost before calling in a pro. For all you know there may not be a leak at all. For homeowners who want to try their hand at DIY water pipe leak detection, here is one effective method:
First thing to do is shut off all the fixtures in your home. Put red food coloring in the flush tanks of all your toilets. If there is a shutoff valve on the water meter, keep that open and take note of the water meter reading. Wait for about an hour and then check your toilet bowls. The presence of red liquid in the bowls indicates a leaky toilet flush mechanism. If the toilets are not leaking but there is even a small change in water meter reading, it means you have an underground leak. While that does not enable you to detect the pipe leak’s exact location, it confirms that you need to call for professional help.
Professional plumbers, who may be members of such professional organizations as the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating, use many modern techniques to detect leaks in pipes. However, one of the most commonly used technologies involves acoustics. You can think of it as the plumber’s equivalent of a physician’s stethoscope; both listen for telltale sounds to detect defects.
Their leak detection devices are so advanced that they feature noise cancellation technology. This allows the person using the device to tune in to the sounds made by leaking pipes. How do these acoustic pipe leak detectors find the exact location of leaks? Apparently the devices are so sensitive they are able to measure the time it takes for the sound of the leak to reach sensors. The time it takes for the sound of the leak to travel is then translated to distance.
Aside from the ability to detect leaks, some acoustic pipe leak detectors have the ability to check for remaining pipe wall thickness. You can actually get an assessment of the condition of your pipes so you can plan rehabilitation measures.
Early testing and detection of pipe leaks can help prevent expensive pipe failures. And as far as fixing leaks is concerned, it not only saves you money, it is also the ecologically responsible thing to do. If you think you have leaking pipes but cannot locate it, maybe it’s time to call in a professional.