Normally locating a water leak under the concrete foundation of a home is something that is best left to the very experienced plumber with all the gadgets and tools available to pinpoint water leaks. Since more than ½ the electronic leak detections that are requested of us have us arriving at a home that does not have a leak under concrete it can pay to do a little homework yourself.
The chances are very good that following the steps below will have you saving money and finding out that your leak under concrete is not actually a leak under concrete.
How Can I Find the Location of an Under Concrete Water Leak?
Typically the average homeowner cannot find the source of the water running under the concrete. The reason is that you cannot see through the concrete and you do not possess the necessary tools, training and experience to locate the source of the water leak.
Leak Detection Is Usually Cheap
While performing leak detection means that we will drive a $40,000 vehicle to your home with about $14,000 in tools in it and pay a plumber, on average, about $50 an hour (wages and benefits) sounds like it costs a lot, it usually doesn’t mean a large charge. The equipment is expensive, but it is top notch stuff and seldom ever breaks down. We have more of a problem with theft from auto burglary than we do with equipment wearing out and breaking down. I still have the first electronic leak detector I bought in 1992 and the first radio signal transmitter for tracing the copper water lines under the slab I bought in 1993. They have been repaired a couple of times, but they still work great.
Here is How You Can Find the Location of a Slab Leak
Methods vary according the plumber’s skills and preferences and the equipment that is available. The first method is by visual leak detection and this can help you determine whether or not the water that you are seeing is actually from a broken pipe under the foundation of your home.
Visual Leak Detection
It is rare that the leak is more than 25 feet from where the water is first located. Clean up the area and mop up any water. If there is carpet and it is wet it will need to be removed anyway. The padding will need to be thrown out and replaced. The carpet padding will hold water in it and this could lead to mold and mildew so getting rid it, it is cheap, is the best course to follow. Now look around where the water is coming from and follow it. If it is coming right out from the middle of the room though a crack or crevice in the concrete you have a water pipe burst under concrete unless your home’s foundation is lower than the finish grade outside the home. If it is lower the water could just be surface water coming into the home. Check for leaks in cabinets and under walls within about 25 feet of where the water is coming out of your foundation. 50% or more often the leak is found this way and it is not a slab leak.
Infrared Leak Detection
You could rent or buy a thermo imaging camera. We have a couple of them and they ran us about $10,000 apiece. This can help to pinpoint a closer location to where the water is leaking. Cold or hot water will be a different temperature coming out of the pipe and this can show up on the infrared scanner by photographing the surfaces of the floors in the home. This only helps to point in a likely location and will not usually pinpoint the exact area of the leak, but it can speed up the process.
Electronic Leak Detection
Electronic leak detection contains a number of steps, but the first one is to listen. Our leak detection equipment is tuned to the band of frequencies made by the water leaving the pipe under the concrete. We can hear the noise of the water leaking as well as the noise of the little pebbles moving under the concrete. The pebbles sound like a bubbling brook. We narrow is the focus of the leak detection and locate the leak through a process of elimination.
Electronic Line Location
We can energize all the water lines in the home with a directional radio signal. Our equipment picks up that signal and we can tell where the piping is and how deep it is. After mapping out the piping we can locate the manifolds in the walls where the piping is making its connections. The leaking line can then be isolated and the rest of piping checked again for additional leaks. Once we know which line is leaking we can make the determination with your help as to whether or not the water pipe should be uncovered and repaired or a new line rerouted around the leaking line.
If the leaking line cannot be located using the previous means we can pressurize the line with an inert gas (CO2 or Nitrogen) and then locate the area of the leak. This gas makes far more noise than the water leaking and it will not travel as far as the water. This is used primarily for very large water leaks and small water leaks when the piping is actually encased in concrete where the leak is located.
Our job is make sure that your water leak repair is easy and painless. We will work with you and your insurance company to help ensure that your investment in leak detection and pipe repair is an easy one to make.
Our primary focus is your convenience and safety. With two hour service windows 6 days a week, no overtime ever, we can meet you at your home at the appointed time for your water pipe repair. We will meet your time table for your slab leak repair service, guaranteed.
Call Today for Fast, Friendly, On Time, Under Budget Electronic Leak Water Detection Service 1-877-247-6426
Less than 1/2 of all the Electronic Leak Detections we perform are actually leaks under concrete.
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