Out of all the annoying house maintenance problems, underground water leaks are probably among the most annoying because they’re a massive headache. You can’t ignore them for too long; otherwise, they’ll start tearing down your home.
Now there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that the leak is only detected after a large amount of water has already leaked out in almost all underground water cases.
The good news is that it’s not all over for your building. There are ways to detect a possible underground water leak, and if a leak is found, fix it right away and restore your home to structural prosperity.
So if you want to know more about underground water leak detection, here’s a breakdown of the options and their costs.
The Short Answer
There are many signs of an underground water leak, such as low water pressure, an unreasonably high bill, sounds of running water, and more. If you suspect a water leak, you should hire a professional leak detector instead of a plumber.
That’s because plumbers utilise invasive leak detection, which involves breaking down your floor to find the leak and then rebuilding it. On the other hand, professional leak detectors have specialised equipment to work non-invasively.
Signs of an Underground Water Leak
If you’ve been noticing these signs constantly over a period, your pipes are probably leaking underground, and you should get them checked out.
This isn’t a way to “diagnose” your problem. These are only pointers that can lead you to the root of the problem.
Low Water Pressure
If the water flow is too weak when you turn on the tap, there’s probably a lot of water getting lost on its way.
Unreasonably High Water Bill
When water leaks on its way to your tap, it adds up to your water bill. So keep track of it and compare it to your normal usage.
Sounds of Running Water
Leaks behind the walls or underground will eventually produce running water noises.
Dampness or Foul Smell
Water buildup can cause moisture, a haven for mould growth. This can also cause a foul smell over time.
Puddles in the Yard
Soil can usually drain water well. But if water builds up underneath it, there won’t be any space for drainage.
The moisture buildup in cement foundations can cause damage and, over time, cracking.
Hiring a Professional Leak Detector
If you’ve seen (or heard) the signs and you likely have an underground water leak problem, then it’s time to contact a professional leak detector.
For reference, a leak detector isn’t a plumber. And yes, a plumber may offer some form of leak detection services, such as invasive leak detection.
However, a professional leak detector is more specialised in this field and has the equipment to locate leaks efficiently and accurately using non-invasive leak detection. What are these two, we hear you ask? Let us explain.
Invasive Leak Detection
Invasive underground leak detection is when the plumber doesn’t have the specialised equipment to detect a leak, so they opt for disassembling the floor or breaking it down to find the leak. That’s why it’s invasive.
Moreover, invasive detection interrupts water activity and takes a lot of time, so you’ll have to vacate the house for a bit until all the work is done unless you’re able to cope with a lack of running water and very noisy labour.
Unsurprisingly, invasive detection is fairly costly since you’ll need to tear down your floors, do the whole detecting job, and then reassemble the surfaces.
There’s a lot of digging, drilling, and hammering involved in the breakdown process. And when it’s time to assemble, you’ll need a whole crew with new materials and tools to build your ground back up.
Non-invasive Leak Detection
Unlike generalised plumbers, professional leak detectors have specialised equipment that helps them find leaks without breaking down walls and floors to find leaks. Their methods are generally called non-invasive leak detection.
Professional leak detection is a very specialised field, and it takes a technician, years of work and training to reach the professional level.
And thanks to technology, professional detectors have an arsenal of tools at their disposal that helps them find the source of the leak efficiently and precisely.
Here are some of the tools that professional leak detectors use in their work.
Thermal Imaging Cameras
Because water leaks can cause fluctuations in water temperature, we can use heat detection equipment, such as thermal imaging cameras to trace potential leak areas. Fortunately, the cameras can detect heat from a distance, so there’s no need to break down floors.
Water leaks can increase moisture in the surrounding surface due to water buildup. This can be detected using a moisture meter.
When an unusually high moisture level is found in an area, this indicates a potential leak source. And the higher the moisture, the closer we get to the bottom of it.
Instead of tearing down an entire surface to look for visual clues, we can sneak a snake camera through a small hole and guide it remotely to look for these clues on a screen.
We mentioned above that unusual water noise is a sign of a potential leak. But sometimes, this noise is too tame to detect with a human ear. And that’s why we can use an acoustic sensor to detect the faintest of sounds to help us find the leak.
Save Time and Money With Non-invasive Underground Leak Detection
In conclusion, invasive leak detection is an outdated method. Thanks to technology, we now use non-invasive leak detection that doesn’t involve damaging your home structure to find leak sources.
As you might expect, non-invasive leak detection is a cheaper and less time-consuming option because you don’t need to hire workers for the whole tearing and rebuilding work. Moreover, invasive detection is more efficient and precise since it relies on cutting-edge technology.