Category: Plumbing

Winter Weather And Your Broken Pipes

How to Detect a Broken Pipe

Broken pipes are not an uncommon problem amongst building owners and homeowners. In fact, according to research on the matter, roughly 33 percent of the world will experience a broken pipe at least once in their lifetime. A broken pipe should be found and fixed immediately in order to prevent not only serious structural damage but potential environmental danger as well. Look for these signs to make it easier to find a hidden broken pipe.

  • Strange Sounds – The plumbing in every building is installed in a ways so that the pipes make as little noise as possible. Pipe manufacturers even produce soundproof fixings for their pipes so that they don’t interfere with the quality of life of the residents. This means that if there are strange sounds coming from the pipes, the odds are good that there’s something wrong with them.
  • Strange Smells – Pipes that are installed correctly should not give off any type of smell. This means that if there is a strange smell in the building, it could be due to a leak in the vent or waste pipe. A pipe that is broken could be leaking water, which could result in the smell. The smell could also be as a result of sewage waste leaking out of a waste pipe.
  • Leaks – Leak detection is one of the easiest ways to figure out if there’s potentially a broken pipe in the building. One way leak detection can be done is by checking the downspout gutter for leaking water. Sometimes during the winter the water that flows from the gutter becomes cold enough to freeze, thereby causing pressure on the pipes and possibly breaking them.
  • Water Puddles Under the Sink – One of the most prominent signs of a broken pipe is if there is water pooling underneath the sink. Look for wet floors and carpets as another sign of a broken pipe.
  • Water Pressure Changes – Any changes in the water pressure, whether in the faucets or the shower, tends to be a definite indication of a broken pipe. Often it’s the result of a blocked pipe, whether due to the buildup of debris or frozen water. A blockage can end up leading to a broken pipe.

 

6 Ways To Find Hidden Water Leaks

Check your water meter

One of the best ways to tell if you have a leak in some part of your plumbing is to check the water meter. To do this, you’ll first have to turn off all the water in your home. Shut off all faucets, and make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are not running. Next, watch the meter and see if it begins to change. If it does, you likely have a fast-moving leak. If the meter doesn’t change immediately, wait two hours and check it again. If it has changed despite all the water being off, you may be dealing with a slower leak. The leak could be anywhere after the meter, or even underground. Remember that all piping after the meter is a homeowner’s responsibility.

Look at your usage

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends checking your winter water usage to find out if a leak is occurring somewhere in your home. If a family of four is using more than 12,000 gallons of water per month, there’s probably have a serious leak problem somewhere in your plumbing system.

Monitor your bill

If your bill is rising consistently but your water use habits haven’t changed, a leak may be to blame. Gather some bills from the past few months and compare them to see if there’s a steady increase. Your water bill should remain within the same range month to month. Remember that some of your pipes may be underground. You may never detect leaks in this part of your system, but you will always pay for them. It’s best to have a professional plumber make a thorough check of all the pipes.  A warm spot on the floor ( with under slab piping) or the sound of water running need prompt, professional attention.

Grab some food coloring

Toilets can account for up to 30 percent of your water use, so you should check to ensure they’re running properly. To test for leaks, add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank and wait 10 minutes. If the color shows up in your bowl, then you have a leak allowing water to flow from the tank to your drain without ever flushing the bowl.

Check exterior usage

Leaks don’t just happen inside the home — they occur outside as well. Check your outside spigots by attaching a garden hose; if water seeps through the connection while the hose is running, replace the rubber hose gasket and check to see all connections are tight. Consider calling a professional once a year to check your irrigation system if you have one. A system with even a small leak could be wasting 6,300 gallons of water per month.

Use common sense

Make a practice of regularly checking in the back of cabinets and under basins for any signs of mold or foul smells that might indicate a leak: prompt attention could save you thousands in repairs. Consider having a professional plumber make an annual inspection of your home to check for leaks or potential problems.

 

How Do You Know if a Pipe Has Burst  

The signs of a burst pipe can often go unnoticed or they can be all over the place, depending on the spot and magnitude of the rupture. The signs will always include water.

  • Flooding. The most obvious sign – if you notice puddles of water on the floor, if the walls are very wet, and if you see the water meter spinning like crazy, then you have a flood.
  • Bubbling walls. When the water leakage is not that obvious, you can notice bubbles forming under the paint or wallpapers of your walls.
  • Mould. Another sign for too much moisture. Some homes have this problem regardless, but if you’re experiencing mould for the first time in a while, the reason might be a broken pipe.
  • Patches of extra green grass. If a pipe has burst outside your home and around your yard, water would be flooding on your lawn. And if there are patches of very green grass, it’s probably a damaged pipe.

 

Take preventative steps.

So you’ve been through the ordeal of a burst pipe. What can you do to protect your home in the future? Try winterizing your home, like adding insulation to keep rooms and pipes from dipping below the freezing point during the cold months. You can apply pipe sleeves or heat tape to exposed pipes that are especially prone to freezing, such as under the kitchen sink or in the bathroom. (If you’re especially lazy or thrifty, newspaper works too.)

Additionally, pinhole leaks that let cold air in are some of the worst culprits for frozen pipes. The best way to guard against these leaks is to find them when they’re small — a tall order for a regular homeowner. Flo makes it easy to find and fix these tiny micro-leaks leaks in their earliest stages, before they turn into regular leaks or burst pipes.

And, as we mentioned earlier, let your pipes breathe. Open those cabinet doors and give them access to warmer air from the rest of the house. Even if the house is empty, remember to keep your thermostat set to above 32 degrees.

 

How Plumbers Do Leak Detection for a Home?

How Plumbers Do Leak Detection for a Home?

However, leaks present a special problem when it comes to repairs: finding the leak in the first place! Unless the leak springs up in one of the few visible pipes in your home, you probably won’t know where leaks are located. This is one of the reasons that you must rely on experienced plumbing professionals to handle the repair work. Leak detection is an important service that plumbers offer. Using the techniques below, licensed plumbers can find exactly where leaks are occurring so they can accurately and quickly repair them.

Acoustic listening devices

Ground microphones and listening discs are among the basic tools that plumbers use to pinpoint leaks. Using sound technology, they can hear the noise of escaping water and dripping even through a layer of concrete.

Heat scanners

In areas that are too noisy or too deep for using acoustic listening methods, plumbers use scanners that pick up temperature changes. Escaping water causes temperature shifts that will show up on the scanners.

Video pipe inspection equipment

For the most precise leak detection, plumbers use a miniaturized camera mounted on long fiber optic cables. The camera relays images back to a monitor where the plumber can see the condition of the inside of the pipe. Not only does this show where leaks are, but it also provides the plumber with extra information that will make it easier to repair the leak.

Must Know How To Find The Best Electronic Leak Detection

How to Detect Leaks

Leaking Faucets

Leaking faucets are generally a result of a worn rubber washer. The washer on a sink is usually located under the handle. These are relatively easy to replace, if you have the right tools. It does require shutting off the water under the sink or at the main shutoff valve and removing the handle. (Note: faucet handles are not shutoff valves.) Check your local home center or hardware store on how to repair faucet leaks.

Leaking Toilets

Toilet leaks can waste hundreds of gallons and often times are silent. Even a small leak can add up to a lot of wasted water and money over time. Fortunately, most toilet leaks are easy and inexpensive to repair.

Flapper Valve Leaks

The most common reason for a leaking toilet is one that has an improperly working or sealing flapper. The flapper is the rubber valve in the bottom of the tank that lifts up when the toilet is flushed. If the flapper is worn or cracked, it allows water to continuously flow from the tank into the toilet bowl without flushing.

Flush Handle Problems

If the handle needs to be jiggled to keep the toilet from running, the flush level bar and chain (or the handle itself) may be sticking. Adjust the nut that secures it in the toilet tank. If that does not work, the handle may have to be replaced.

Overflow Tube Leaks

Ideally the water level should be set so that is about even with the fill line on the back of the toilet tank (approximately ½” below the overflow tube). If the water is too high in the toilet tank and is spilling into the overflow tube, the water level can be adjusted by turning the adjustment screw or by very gently bending the float arm down so that the water shuts off at a level below the overflow tube.

 

How Electronic Leak Detection Works

When you contract with a leak detection company, the expectation is that they will identify a concealed leak as close as possible to the source, so that a repair can be made. You might think that a trained leak detection technician is only looking for water when looking for a leak, but the truth is, water isn’t always easily found. It’s technology that makes it possible to pinpoint a leak.

It might surprise you to know that sound is the key to finding concealed plumbing leaks. When a faucet is turned on it obviously creates a sound as the water is traveling through a pipe, and this is especially obvious when a fixture is turned on upstairs in a home. As water rushes through a pipe the sound can echo

throughout the plumbing system. This can also be apparent when an exterior hose bib, that exits the wall of the home, is turned on. When there is a leak in a pipe, sound is also created as the water rushes out of the leak. This can occur even when the leak is only the size of a pinhole. In these cases, the sound is usually not nearly as loud as on open faucet, so to hear the sound of the water movement technology is required.

Electronic leak detection equipment amplifies the sound of the moving water, using microphones, digital amplifiers and filters, allowing the leaking pipe to be identified. Once the leaking line is identified then the pressure in the line can be altered to create a specific sound that the technician uses to pinpoint the leak. The sound of pressure escaping from a broken pipe varies depending on the circumstances — the type of pipe, how deep the pipe is underground, if it is under concrete, asphalt, dirt, etc., how big the leak is, if there is a pool of water around the pipe, if there is a void underground, and countless other scenarios that affect the sound of a leak. Training and experience are key when effectively using electronic leak-locating equipment to detect these types of leaks.

This process is used for all types of plumbing systems, under concrete slabs, main water lines, swimming pool plumbing systems, and others. As long as a system can be isolated and pressure tested, leaks can be located using electronics. The more accurately a leak can be pinpointed, the less damage to access the leak, saving time and money.

 

HOW ELECTRONIC LEAK DETECTION WORKS

WHAT IS ELECTRONIC LEAK DETECTION?

In the old days your plumber may have used something like a doctor’s stethoscope to listen to the sounds in your walls to try and find a hidden leak, hoping to hear the drip or rush of running water where it didn’t belong. Today’s plumbers use electronic leak detection equipment, which can be a unit that is run over a flat surface that listens to all the sounds in the voids between walls and floors.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Water makes noise as it moves along, whether it is dripping, trickling, or rushing through a broken pipe. Your plumber will determine the best location to position the unit, having listened to your description of the problem.  The water leak detection unit has a transducer that serves as its microphone. It then uses a simple computer program listening for the frequencies of sound that are associated with leaking water or gas, and send that information back to the plumber.  Your experienced plumber can decipher whether they are hearing a cracked pipe, loose gasket, or a leaky faucet.  It can also determine how far away the leak may be, so the unit does not have to be positioned right above the leak.

WILL MY WALLS AND FLOORS BE DAMAGED WITH ELECTRONIC LEAK DETECTION?

This is a huge benefit of using electronic leak detection.  If you thought the problem of a leaking pipe was behind your shower wall, without using the leak detection a plumber may have simply ripped open your wall to find the broken pipe only to discover everything was fine. However, because the detector was able to tell your plumber, for example, that the leak was 100 feet away, they were able to save the time and money of damaging your home just trying to find the leak.  They will use their experience to accurately locate the problem the first time. If they have to expose the pipe, you will only have one hole to patch and may have saved hours in labor costs hunting down the leak.

DOES IT ONLY WORK ON WATER PIPES?

These same techniques can be used in other pressurized systems, such as air conditioning compressors, refrigerators, and natural gas lines. The equipment must be set to detect the right kind of gas as each one makes specific sounds while moving through pipes. So, if you have a heating problem with your natural gas service, the technician may use similar instrumentation to locate the issue and repair it quickly and accurately.

CAN I DO IT MYSELF?

If you are a DiY expert, you might be tempted to find the leak on your own.  The electronic equipment is quite expensive. Even if you find one for rent, it does take substantial training to learn how to decipher the readings and use it effectively.  This is one service where you will be better off contacting the experts and spending a little cash so you don’t end up making more holes looking for the problem yourself.

 

Plumbing Tips

Finding Leaks With Electronic Leak Detection

Finding a leak in hidden underground water lines can be a challenge for plumbers. Luckily electronic leak detection has become a tried-and-true method of discovering hidden leaks, using devices that detect the sound waves made by leaking water. This makes it easier for plumbing professionals to pinpoint the problem without disrupting the surrounding environment.

The Process Of Leak Location

Electronic leak detection devices locate and confirm leaks by listening to the sound of water running along the pipes, using a microphone. Your plumbing contractor will choose the best location to set up the electronic leak detection device. The sounds it records will then be transmitted to a computer program, where the plumber will analyze the information. An experienced licensed plumber will know whether the sound is from a cracked pipe or a leaking faucet. From there, they will determine the best repair technique appropriate to repair the leak

Concerned About Wall & Floor Damage?

Don’t be. Back in the day, a licensed plumber would need to rip open the wall or dig up your entire floor in order to find the location of a leak. Today, with electronic leak detection, wall and floor damage is minimal. Since the plumber determines the exact location of the leak beforehand, the part of the wall to be removed or the area of the floor that will be dug up will be smaller. A smaller hole also means bigger savings for you in terms of time and money.

Call A Licensed Vancouver Island Plumber

Conventional leak detection can be DIY. But doing it the conventional way means that you will have to tear down walls or dig the whole floor to find the exact location of the leak. For many homeowners the money saved from not hiring a contractor is immediately wasted again through the time, mess, and unintentional damage caused by trying to find and repair a leak on their own.

 

FINDING AND STOPPING LEAKS

What is involved ?

Fresh water is a limited, sometimes even rare resource. Demographic growth and populations migrating towards the towns and their outlying areas create new needs as well as unintentional wastage. In many countries, especially the emerging countries, a huge amount of water is lost due to leaks in the production or harnessing facilities and above all in the often very extensive underground piping networks. The World Bank estimates water losses in the emerging countries to be over 40%. Reducing water losses can therefore play a major role in improving access to drinking water. Far better to start by looking for and eliminating leaks, which also prevents contamination, that to envisage building new, costly production plants.

What does this process involve ? How is it applied ?

Instruments can be used to detect and localise more precisely the leaks in the pipes. Remember however that in the old days, the leaks were sometimes only detected by an ear placed on the ground, preferably at night to avoid ambient sounds As a general rule, these instruments detect the vibrations or noises produced by the water that is escaping from pressurised pipes. These noises extend along the pipe over fairly long distances (depending on the type and diameter of the pipe) and in the surrounding ground. There are various types of detection instrument

The mechanical amplifier or sound probe

The body of the mechanical amplifier comprises the resonance box of a vibrating membrane, where the frequency can be adjusted by moving a thumbwheel.

Electronic amplifier or microphone in the ground

In an electronic amplifier, the particular hissing sound of the water leak is captured by a microphone and amplified by an electronic circuit

Acoustic correlator

Rather than using sound levels to locate a leak, the acoustic correlator uses the speed of sounds produced by the leak when they move along the pipe towards two sensors or microphones placed in connectors either side of the leak. The operating principle is the resemblance between the two signals resulting from the noise of the leak. It determines the different in propagation times of this noise towards two sensors placed at each end of the section of pipe being checked.

Trick To Find The Best Sewer Inspection

Sewer Inspection and Why It Should Be Done?

What is a sewer inspection?

This is an inspection done by a camera attached to a snake line. The video camera records the state of the sewer, revealing any cracks, tree roots, collapsed lines, clogs and other problems inside the sewer.

When should I get a sewer inspection?

Many people get sewer inspections when they’re serious about buying a new home. It’s a good idea to get a sewer inspection done if your home is showing signs of a sewer backup or if your home has had sewer clogs in the past and you’d like to know how your sewer is doing.

 

Sewer Repairs Can Be Extremely Expensive

You might wonder, “Do I need a sewer line inspection before buying a house?” The answer is yes. A sewer inspection should be a mandatory part of your house inspection checklist. When considering what inspections to get when buying a house, do not overlook the sewer line. In fact, getting a sewer inspection is one of the most important home inspection tips for first-time buyers. Sewer line inspections are cheap, but sewer repairs can be extremely expensive. Why spend the money on a repair when you could have avoided with a simple inspection?

There’s no such thing as a typical cost for repairing your sewer lines. It can start at a few hundred dollars to snake out a blockage. Or, it could be tens of thousands of dollars to excavate your yard and replace the pipes. The repair bills depend on the sewer line condition, the problem’s location and the root cause.

No pun intended, but speaking of roots, tree roots are the primary cause of blocked sewer lines. Fortunately, roots are easy to find with a closed-circuit television inspection. Unfortunately, they can be very expensive to dig up and clear out. Having the sewer line scoped should be on your house-buying inspection checklist. In fact, you can’t afford not to inspect the sewer line before closing your house purchase deal.

 

What to Expect During Sewer Inspection

When you hire a professional with the proper equipment to perform your sewer inspection, you can rest easy knowing the job will be done right. The best drain and sewer cleaning technicians follow a specific series of steps to ensure your sewer line is clean and in proper working condition.

  • For homeowners that are already living in their house, inspections start with a thorough cleaning and clearing of the sewer mainline. Even if you don’t suspect a blockage, clearing the line prevents any future buildup and makes it easier for the video cable to navigate the pipes.
  • The most important step in sewer inspection is the use of a specialized video camera to examine the interior of your main line. The video camera is attached to a long line of tubing which can be fed into the sewer pipes. On the surface, the technician can watch a screen to view exactly what the camera sees in real-time, searching for any signs of blockage or damage.
  • After the video inspection, your technician will provide you with a comprehensive report. The recording of your sewer line can also be saved and reviewed at a later date, if need be. Depending on the condition of the main line, repair or replacement solutions can be discussed.

Understanding the condition of a home’s sewer system allows you to make an educated purchase. If the house you’re looking to purchase has significant sewer line problems, it might be more cost-effective to pursue a different listing. At the very least, you’ll either want the current owner to fix the issues before closing or lower their asking price by an appropriate amount.

 

Here are three reasons why you should schedule a sewer inspection today:

  1. Repairs are Expensive
    Inspections are relatively inexpensive and can be done quickly. On the other hand, sewer line replacements can be very expensive and are often not covered by your insurance because it’s the result of natural wear and tear. In addition to monetary costs, sewer backups can be messy and dangerous – causing flooding and leaking toxic sewer gas. Often, an inspection can detect a problem before it causes irreparable damage. When small leaks and clogs go unfixed, replacement is often eventually required.
  2. Roots Love Sewer Lines
    Tree roots are constantly seeking a good source of water and nutrients, so it’s not surprising that they are attracted to sewer lines. Roots sneak into tiny openings and then expand over time, blocking flow and ultimately causing damage. If left unattended, pipes can be damaged and require excavation to repair. If you have trees or large shrubs anywhere near your sewer line, you should have regular inspections.
  3. Natural Wear and Tear Happens
    Even new sewer systems can spring leaks and get blocked from time-to-time, but older systems have a much higher risk. Older homes may have been constructed prior to modern city sewer systems, relying on cesspools, clay, or tar paper. These old systems erode and collapse over time. If you’re not sure of the type of sewer system your home has and the state it’s in, it’s a good idea to have an inspection.

 

How to Inspect a Sewer Line

When you are setting up your home inspections before you close on a purchase, simply call a plumbing company and ask if the contractor can use a camera to inspect the sewer. Your real estate agent might be able to refer several companies to you.

The plumbing company will insert a snake attached to a small video camera into the clean-out. The snake will maneuver the camera through the sewer, and you can watch the resulting images on a monitor. Not only will the plumbing company find out if the sewer line is clean or clogged, but the inspection will also disclose the overall condition of the sewer.

Ask the contractor to tell you what kind of material was used to construct the sewer line. Find out whether that type of material is still considered to be good construction today. Sewer lines can be made up of different materials, including Orangeburg, clay, cast iron, and PVC.

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