Paul's Plumbing Tips

How Do Plumbers Find the Sources of Leaks? Four Tried-and-Tested Methods

Detecting and locating leaks is a crucial aspect of any skilled plumber's job. From damp patches on walls to soaring water bills, you might notice leaks in your home but not know the source. Left unchecked, water leaks can cause significant damage and expenses. How do plumbers locate these often elusive leaks? Find out more about the leak detection methods commonly used by Australian plumbers today.

1. Visual Inspections

The first and simplest method employed by plumbers for water leak detection is a straightforward visual inspection. Signs of leaks can include water damage, staining, mould growth, warped walls or floors and dampness. Often, a careful visual check can provide a strong indication of where the source of the leak might be. Nevertheless, this method is often less effective for hidden leaks or those deep within the plumbing system, so it cannot be relied upon alone.

2. Acoustic Investigations

For concealed leaks, plumbers often turn to acoustic leak detection. This technique involves using listening devices to hear the sound of water escaping from pipes. By placing such a device to their ear and following the sound, a professional plumber should be able to pinpoint the exact location of a leak. Although effective, this method can be hampered by background noise or the depth at which the pipes are buried.

3. Thermal Imaging

Leak detection with thermal imaging makes use of infrared camera technology to detect changes in temperature. Water leaks often cause such temperature variations. Indeed, water escaping from a pipe will often change the surrounding area's temperature quite considerably whether it is a hot or cold supply. Either way, this should be detectable by an infrared camera. This is a non-invasive method that can locate leaks within walls, under floors or in ceilings, without needing to cause any damage to the property.

4. Tracer Gas Detection

When other methods aren't sufficient, plumbers may resort to tracer gas detection. This method is used for buried pipes. The plumber will inject a gas, usually a non-toxic mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen, into the plumbing system. Because such gases are lighter than air, they should rise to the surface through the soil in places where cracks in the pipework are to be found. By using a gas detector, plumbers can then figure out the gas's highest concentration, thereby offering a good idea of where the leak's location might be.

Please note that there are pros and cons to all of the aforementioned leak detection methods. Therefore, a combination of methods might sometimes be beneficial to find the source of one or more leaks on a property. By doing so, plumbers can minimise the damage caused by leaks and carry out necessary repairs promptly, saving homeowners from further complications and costs.

To learn more about leak detection, contact a local company.