Easy Ways to Find Leaks
Leak Pro Southeast and other professional leak location services charge a premium rate to find leaks. They do this because the training and equipment cost a lot of money and time. Most leak detection services guarantee to find leaks within 8 or 6 feet of the leak. That includes leaks under a slab or in a wall. For these types of leaks, you almost always have to hire a pro. But the majority of the time, you need not waste money when you can do it yourself.
First thing, you need to determine the size of the leak. The easiest, but least accurate way to do this is to compare water bills. If your water bill shows a large disparity between last month and this month, and there is no reasonable explanation then you have a large leak and need the Pros. For instance, in the South, most water providers use the CCF measurement. This stands for Cubic Centum Foot or about 748 gallons. If you haven't been watering your lawn, have an extra guest staying, or filling your pool; and you have even a single CCF difference you might have a large leak. If your bill is the same, however, then proceed to find the leak on your own.
The great thing about water is that it flows downhill, has a distinct smell when it's been sitting around, and can generally be seen. When looking for a small leak inside your house, look for obvious water sign at low points. Plumbers and home builders will always put drains at the lowest point so that water has enough fall to not sit still and stagnate. If you can find water at a drain with no discernable cause, then follow the trail, no matter how faint, back to its origin. Look for damaged paint, drywall, or other telltale signs. From there you should be able to find a water distribution point in the form of a faucet, washing machine box, ice maker supply, or something similar. Most leaks are simply loose hose fittings or worn supply lines. It makes more economic sense to replace those first, before contacting a pro. Remember to always use Teflon Tape when securing a new feed or supply line.
If you can't find water at a low point, but can smell stagnate water or sewage, then you might have a bigger issue. Houses with crawl spaces can use their unique feature to find leaking drain lines or other pipes to see if there is an issue. Remember identifying the problem is one of the biggest challenges a plumber faces, and why most people are willing to pay a premium for their experience. If you do find a leaking sewer or water pipe under your house, you can have an expert repair it, or possibly fix it yourself.
Some people don't realize that ceilings are typically made of the same material you have on your walls. A roof leak will become blatantly obvious, once water has bypassed the attic insulation. The problem with these types of leaks is that sometimes water lines run through the attic as well. To determine if the leak is from a pipe or faulty shingle, you can place a bucket over the exposed area between the insulation and the roof. If after a day the insulation appears to be freshly soaked, then you have a water line issue. If there is water in the bucket after a rain shower, then you have a roof leak. The water line leak is the easiest to fix, and you can trace the line back to the source and turn it off, and possible repair it yourself. The roof leak might take a dedicated roofer to fix.
If you suspect a gas leak, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FIX IT YOURSELF! This can not be overstated, call the gas company or professionals to fix it.
Remember, before you call the pros you might want to see if you can fix it yourself. If not, Leak Pro Southeast will be happy to assist you.