A water leak on your property could be expensive, and so it is crucial that you discover the issue as soon as possible. Narrowing down the problem can be tricky, however, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Wondering how to tell if you have a water leak underground? You have come to the right place! Read on for everything you need to know, and save yourself the risk of a hefty repair bill.
There are several stages to identifying an underground water leak, and it all starts with noticing an issue.
What Causes Water Leaks Underground?
In most cases, an underground pipe leak will occur if a supply pipe breaks or springs a leak – this typically takes place at a connection point, such as an elbow, or along the length of the pipe.
There are a number of causes which may be to blame – the most common causes include frozen or corroded pipes, roots which have invaded the water system, or shifting and moving ground.
Underground water leaks can cause an increase in water bills and, left untreated, could have further repercussions; including damage to the foundations of your home. This can result in subsidence and instability for both your property, and any neighbouring properties.
How Do I Detect A Water Leak?
If you suspect a leak, there are a few tests you can run to determine the cause and location – this information will be useful when you decide the best way to proceed with repairs. Unlike a leak in your home, there will not be clear, noticeable signs such as a dripping sound or an obvious pool of water – chances are high that you will not realise there is an issue until you receive an elevated water bill. Knowing what to look for helps you identify and solve the issue more quickly, and this can help save money – in many cases if the leak is hidden you will require the services of a Leak Detection Specialist such as ourselves.
Look For Obvious Signs Of Water Escaping
If you have a sneaking suspicion that water is leaking from a pipe underground, there may be a few signs to look out for, including sinkholes, or marshy, muddy areas of ground. Some of the key signs include:
- An area of unusually wet concrete – may indicate that there is a water leak under concrete
- Noticeable decrease in water pressure or flow volume
- An area of grass or vegetation which appears to be growing more quickly than that in surrounding areas
- Rust, air or dirt in your water supply – while this can have other causes, if found in conjunction with the other signs, it could well indicate a leak
- Check Your Water Meter
As well as spotting the signs, you should also start by locating your water meter – in most cases, this will be in a street in front of the house, situated in a box covered with a lid. Start by taking off the lid – this can usually be hooked with a screwdriver – and removing any dirt to allow you to see more clearly. Takes note of the position of the valve.
You should then turn off your water, and keep the supply shut off for at least 30 minutes. Once the period has elapsed, head back to the meter and check to see if the needle has moved – if it has, there is likely to be an underground leak. This is a good time to call in the Leak Detection professionals; they will have the tools, equipment and experience to help quickly and effectively.
How Are Leaks Detected By ADI Leak Detection?
Professional leak detectors have a vast array of tools at their disposal to help them locate underground leaks in no time. In most cases, the process involves charging the water pipes with nitrogen – this is an inert gas, and so will not undergo a chemical reaction under a set of given conditions. Using this type of gas helps to reduce the risk of a chemical reaction occurring underground – the wrong combination could easily result in an explosion.
When the pressurized nitrogen discovers a leak, it will come blowing out of the gap, and this results in a loud, audible hiss which confirms the presence of the leak. A probe is then entered into the ground, alongside an amplifier and a set of headphones, allowing the exact location of the leak to be determined.
Experts may also use thermal imaging – this is using a non-invasive thermal imaging camera to locate pipes buried within the structure of the property, such as cavities or walls. The technology can determine differences in surface temperature – this can be a great way to identify the source of a leak. Once we have found the leak and repairs have been carried out then you will likely need to have the floor dried out before reflooring can be carried out.