Plumbing leaks have the potential to be one of the most damaging issues your home can face. Unfortunately, leaking pipes are also one of the most common plumbing problems. Even a tiny, pinhole-sized leak can cause huge amounts of water damage, possibly destroying drywall and flooring or even damaging the home’s underlying structure. Leaks also create the perfect conditions for potentially toxic mold growth, which can harm your family’s health. All of these factors mean it is essential that any leaks are diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible. Still, identifying and locating the source of the leak can be a difficult task, but here are some of the tools that professional plumbers use to help them locate leaks more quickly.
Acoustic Devices and Listening Equipment
The most common method for inspecting plumbing for leaks is to use acoustic listening devices, such as listening discs and ground microphones. With these devices, a trained plumber can listen for drips or running water to quickly pinpoint the exact location of any leaks. Listening devices can even identify leaks inside of walls or under concrete.
Video Inspection Equipment
Video inspection equipment can also be used to check for leaks. This involves using a small camera connected to a long fiber-optic cable to enable a plumber to see exactly what’s going on inside your pipes. With video inspection, the plumber can both spot leaks and also monitor the condition of the pipes, which usually makes it far easier to properly repair the leak as well.
Mechanical Pipe Plugs
Mechanical pipe plugs and test plugs are other methods plumbers use to detect leaks in sewage, water, and other plumbing lines. These plugs are used to seal off specific pipes so that they can be pressurized and tested for leaks. Test plugs especially come in handy when checking dry waste vents and other vent pipes for leaks, corrosion, or damage.
There are certain situations where listening devices aren’t effective, such as in areas with excess noise or pipes that are far below the surface. In these instances, many plumbers rely on a heat scanner instead. Any water leaking from a pipe changes the surrounding temperature, and heat scanners can detect these temperature changes to enable the plumber to instantly spot the leak.
If left unchecked, leaks and other plumbing issues can cause serious damage. As a result, you could find yourself suddenly needing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on repairs. Therefore, if you’ve noticed a sudden spike in your water bills or otherwise suspect your pipes are leaking, it is essential that you seek professional plumbing assistance immediately.