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The tough part of water line repair is locating the source of the leak, which is often hidden in walls, floors, ceilings, or even in concrete foundations. Leaks can be stealthy, with water appearing far from the actual pipe problem. Sometimes, there’s no obvious evidence of a leak at first, just an unexplained change in water meter readings reflecting changes in usage that don’t correspond to actual activity and water usage in the home.
Water Costs Are Rising — Early Leak Detection and Water Line Repair Saves Money
With the rising costs of public water supplies and the addition of sewer costs based on water usage, there’s a big financial incentive in identifying possible leaks and pinpointing the cause. Your water bill and meter readings can help you track your month-to-month and year-to-year usage for comparison. You might get some false positives if you’ve been changing your landscape watering, have more people using water in the house, or are running more loads of laundry or dishes. On the other hand, if you’ve bought new, more efficient appliances, the reduction in water use might mask evidence of a leak. Trust your instincts and follow up on clues before ruling them out.
Considering the Hidden Costs of Water Damage
Insurance numbers reveal that while catastrophic fire damage costs can be dramatic, water damage claims are much more common and can be significant as well. A water line repair for a hidden leak often requires cutting into walls and other surfaces just to locate the leak. This process adds costs for time before the leak is found and fixed, and also requires repair work to restore the surfaces after the water line repair is done.
Locating Leaks in Indoor Plumbing
Peeling paint, wet or discolored wallpaper, and other visible signs that something’s wrong in the walls can be very helpful in identifying hidden leaks. A musty smell, either in the room or just inside the wall, is another big clue, as is the presence of mold or mildew that may be provoking allergies. Lab tests can help detect these problems. Cutting into the walls for inspection, or using special devices to measure water flow or listen for leak sounds and calculate approximate leak locations can help as well.
Special Techniques for Leaks Under Floors
Pipes running under the floor in your home may be producing sounds and moisture that are apparent only under close examination. When standing quietly in a room, listen for sounds of water dripping or flowing in pipes that aren’t supposed to be in use. The sound may be a hiss or slight whistle. Also examine the floorboards and feel them for irregularities, checking to see if water has soaked into wood and produced swelling or other deformities that are detectable on the surface.
Outdoor Leaks from Damage and Freezing
If your area is one where cold weather sets in and stays for days or weeks, you may not realize that your outdoor or otherwise exposed plumbing has been damaged by freezing. It’s only when the weather improves and the frozen pipes resume flow that you’ll need water line repair, but it probably won’t be hard to tell. Cracks in the pipes often produce geysers or large puddles, and large amounts of wasted water. Leaks can also produce very slippery sheets of ice when the weather drops below freezing temperatures again.
Water Line Repair Under Foundations
Water lines are sometimes run under concrete foundations or even as part of the poured concrete floor of the basement. These can be challenging to detect, isolate, and perform water line repair to correct them. It may be necessary to remove parts of the concrete, to dig underneath the concrete slab, and to patch or reroute the piping to complete the water line repair. Identifying the problem often starts with identifying water usage changes, but can also come from changes in the soil moisture near the foundation and cracks in the basement floor.
Water Line Repair in Your Main Supply Line
Deep freezes, heavy equipment in your yard, disruptions in your land from soil shifting and foundation movement, and other displacements and damage can create not only expensive water loss from leaks. Low or no water pressure can also occur from the damage. If the damage progresses over time you might notice thriving grass or plants above the leak or wet soil that’s noticeably soft when you walk or drive on it, or you might even experience infiltration and flooding inside your home. Remember, when you detect possible signs of a water leak, even if there’s another possible explanation such as rainfall, it’s a good idea to get it checked out before the problem and expense progress further.
Re-piping as a Water Leak Prevention Strategy
If you’ve been experiencing multiple leaks in your home, it might be time to consider full or partial re-piping to replace damaged, poorly installed, or outdated pipes. It’s something we do more often than you’d think, and it gives peace of mind.
Water Leak Detector Use and Placement, Especially for Smart Homes
Inexpensive water leak detectors can help identify common sources of water damage from basement plumbing, water heaters, and washing machine hose bursts, also bathroom sink overflows and undersink hidden leaks. Many of these devices not only provide audible alarms when dampness is detected, but can be connected to smart home systems or wireless alarms to provide quick alerts to homeowners even when they’re not at home. Then, the plumber is called and water line repair or other corrective work performed before the damage progresses.
Turn to bluefrog Plumbing + Drain for Expert Leak Detection and Water Line Repair
At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain our expert plumbers have extensive experience in locating leaks, using their knowledge of plumbing and home construction to focus their efforts and minimize the costs involved in locating plumbing problems. Give us a call to have our experts locate and fix your hidden leaks and costly water line problems.