How Do Plumbers Find Leak In Walls? Finding a leak is sometimes an easy task. There are some signs that suggest a leak has occurred, like mold, peeling paint, nasty smell, or discolored wall. But how to detect an invisible leak?
Well, you can determine whether a leak has occurred by turning off the water supply and checking the water meter. The hard part here is to find out exactly where it is located. A plumber may know how to do it.
Here are the special plumbing tools that they use to detect hidden leaks.
While homeowners place their ear close to the wall trying to catch any dripping sound, plumbers use more advanced methods. The most popular acoustic devices are: ground microphones and listening discs.
They amplify the leak sound behind walls, helping identify its exact location. Having soft edges, the devices fit greatly inside the pipes, without damaging them and preventing additional leaks.
They are way more sensitive than the human ears, being able to catch even minor sounds that the ear can’t detect. Usually, plumbers use ground microphones for water pipes located behind concrete or other barriers, like cabinet and brick structures.
Since these pipes are invisible, you cannot rely on visible signs like mold and wet areas to identify leaks. The concrete barrier also reduces the intensity of dripping sounds. In this way, plumbers cannot detect leaks behind walls unless they use acoustic amplifiers.
Using a camera is also a method for plumbers to detect water leaks. Given technological advancements of the last decade, plumbers may enjoy now plumbing video inspection systems. Such a system consists of a small camera equipped with a light.
The fiber optic cable conencted to the camera allows the plumber to send the device deep into the pipe. Using high quality images, the plumber can see the wet areas inside the drainage system.
Video inspection helps professionals not only to detect leaks but to analyse their severity and come up with a repair plan.
Thanks to the high definition image camera provides, plumbers have the chance to identify even micro leaks. Such leaks are the greatest troublemakers because they don’t drip but rather seep through tiny cracks, creating no sound.
In this way, an acoustic device may not be able to detect them, leaving this opportunity to a camera.
Another smart way of detecting leaks is using a pressure rig. While it may be expensive, many plumbers choose to purchase it to make their job easier. To put it simply, a pressure rig is a device that sends a high-pressure jet of air down the pipe.
If a leak exists, the air will pass through it under high pressure, causing a sharp whistling sound. It’s worth-mentioning that his device works mainly with larger leaks because they allow air to pass through them, causing whistling.
Pressure rig will hardly conquer micro leaks, like pipe cuts, that allow water to seep through slowly. There is a need for huge pressure to force the air through these cuts. This is why, plumbers use video inspection to detect micro leaks.
Sometimes plumber’s tools fail to detect any leaks inside your house, while the water meter is still running. It means that the leak source is outside the house located on the main sewer line. In this case, the plumber takes a soil probe along the drainage system under the ground.
By analyzing it, he can understand whether any leak has affected the soil structure and chemistry.
To sum up, plumbers have a full toolbox of devices for leak detection. They use acoustic amplifiers to detect the dripping sound of water behind the wall. If the leak is too small to cause dripping, video inspection steps in.
Plumbers have a camera connected to a flexible cable that they send down the pipe. Using light and high-resolution video, the camera helps identify even the smallest wet areas.
Professionals may also use a pressure rig that releases a pressurized jet of air through the pipe. Thus, causing a whistle when the stream of air passes through the leak. If the leak is outside the house, plumbers take a soil probe to detect the leak by analyzing soil chemistry.