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.
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.