How to detect and fix water pipeline leaks, House maintenance tips, USA home drainage advice
How To Detect And Fix Water Pipeline Leaks
20 Mar 2023
Water leaks are a fairly common problem in houses and commercial buildings. Because pipeline leaks can be hard to spot, small leaks can go undetected and manifest into much bigger problems later including catastrophic flooding.
Nowadays, flood-resilient architecture is prominent in homes and buildings near waterways such as the Thames which is prone to flooding. Yet, it is water pipeline leaks that most homeowners need to worry about rather than the climate.
In the UK, pipelines bring drinking water into the home and waste water back out. Residents may have central heating, underfloor heating, drainage, and underground pipes, which could all potentially leak through cracks as they age.
Because most of this piping is hidden, many people don’t realise they have a leak until there is actual water damage, and costly repairs to be made.
How can you detect a water pipeline leak?
You can spot some signs of water leaks, with some being more obvious than others. Small puddles of water in the home near walls are a fairly obvious sign that something is wrong. But, there are other signs such as mould or discolouring on ceilings and walls.
You may also hear the sound of dripping water, especially at night when the home is quiet. Yet, there are times when leaks may be less obvious such as when an underground pipe is leaking.
Firms such as ADI Leak Detection use specialist equipment for non-invasive searches using cameras and moisture meters. But, you can still look for some signs yourself.
Without specialist tools, it can be very difficult to find underground leaks. If you notice soggy patches in the garden, musty smells from mould, and higher than usual water bills then you may have a leak.
Do you need a leak detection specialist?
Locating the source of a leak can involve invasive actions and costly repairs. This can be due to digging up areas of the garden or cutting through wall sections to find the cause of the leak.
Leak detection specialists can avoid much of this by using endoscope cameras that can fit into crannies and behind walls. Being able to pinpoint water pipeline leaks exactly reduces the amount of damage that needs to be done to repair the plumbing.
Moisture meters can be used too to detect higher than normal levels of dampness, and mould. This helps to spot leaks and prevent further structural damage from mould and mildew.
Every minute that a leak is left unpatched takes it closer to a potential disaster. If a mains pipe fails, your home could be flooded causing very costly water damage.
Not to mention the cost of escaping water that is being wasted all the time that a leak is in place.
How common are water pipeline leaks?
A few years ago, Property Reporter published research stating that over 40% of homes have water leaks, with many going undetected for lengths of time.
Residential homes are full of pipes that serve different purposes, and all have the potential for leaking. Leaks happen due to natural events such as earth tremors, plus increased pressure, freezing and other temperature fluctuations, corrosion, and poor workmanship.
Your home will have hot and cold water pipelines, downpipes, under-sink pipes, grey water pipes and drainage, and sewage pipes. You will have piping for central heating, to your swimming pool if you have one, outside taps, and underfloor heating.
Even your toilet can be a source of leaks and is a very common cause of water loss. Up to 35 percent of all water leaks are from residential toilets.
How costly are leaks in homes?
Certain parts of the UK are used to seasonal flooding, and this causes about £1.4 billion of damage each year. But, even if you are based away from flood risks, your water tank could fail, underground pipes can burst in winter, and other leaks can occur.
Water damage can be very expensive to fix, and water loss costs money too. Today, building design impacts energy efficiency, and this affects utility bills. Part of the cost of a leak will hit your water bill no matter how eco-friendly your home design is.
After this particular cost, there will be plumbing repairs, and other costs to restore any damage to normal. The average insurance claim for water leaks is £2,638. Repair costs can be up to £170 per hour plus materials, so detecting leaks early is vital, as is having insurance cover.
How can you fix a water leak in the home?
Any simple leaks such as from dripping taps, or minor visible pipes, can likely be handled by yourself. However, delaying the issue will only lead to worse problems. Therefore, if you have any doubt about handling any leak you should call in a professional plumber to fix the problem.
If you are certain that there is a leak but you just can’t locate it, then call in a leak detection specialist. Water leaks will never disappear by ignoring them, they can only get worse.
What happens if you ignore a water pipeline leak?
There are some reasons why a leak might get ignored. Perhaps you want to check if your insurance covers you, or it might be unclear who is liable for the repairs.
In flats and apartments water damage can come from neighbour’s homes. This can lead to disputes about water damage liability, and in rented accommodation, this area can become even more confused.
What is clear, however, is that if any type of leak is ignored, you risk causing immense damage. Leaks can lead to structural damage, rotting, mould, catastrophic flooding, and even cause electrical fires.
Detecting water pipeline leaks can be tricky, and many go unspotted for ages. If you see any discolouration or notice musty mouldy smells in the home then you may well have a leak.
A leak detection specialist can help to reduce the cost of any damage caused by a leak and prevent a major problem from occurring. If you have located any leak yourself then don’t wait to get it fixed. Delay can lead to pipes bursting and serious water damage occurring.
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