Of all the modern conveniences in our homes, indoor plumbing is probably the one we take most for granted. Your house has a complex network of pipes that bring both hot and cold water to your kitchen and every bathroom, both downstairs and upstairs. For obvious aesthetic reasons, most of these pipes are hidden behind walls. When one of them starts to leak, however, finding the source of the problem can be much trickier than it might initially seem. In this article, we’ll review what hidden leaks are, their origins, and why professional leak detection is the right way to go if the source of the leak isn’t immediately apparent.
What are hidden leaks?
Hidden leaks are leaks with an origin point that isn’t immediately obvious to a homeowner. A leaking sink basin that is dripping water into the under-sink cabinets below isn’t considered to be a hidden leak, since you know what the cause of the leak is and its origin point. With some re-application of waterproof caulk, you or one of the plumbers here at Dent Air Conditioning should be able to fix that leak without having to search for it first.
What are the common causes of these leaks?
With the exception of under-sink spaces, most of your home’s pipes are hidden behind walls, below the foundation, or in the attic. This means that anything that can theoretically go wrong with a pipe—such as a crack in the material caused by the home settling and shifting—can cause a “hidden leak.”
Why are these leaks so hard to find?
One common situation that occurs is that the homeowner sees water damage in a certain area of their home and makes the assumption that the leak is either there or nearby. Makes sense, right? However, after cutting through drywall and making a mess of the wall, their frustrations mount because they still can’t seem to locate the leak. Thanks to gravity, the water from a leaking pipe can travel from one section of the house to another, causing water damage in one place even though the origin of the problem is in an entirely different room or even on a different floor.
For example, the water from a leaking pipe in the upstairs master bathroom may be dripping down behind the wall and collecting in a water spot near the baseboard in the downstairs living room. You may already know if there are any water pipes in that area, but, without professional leak detection, you will likely have no idea exactly where the leak is coming from in your home.
Why call us for professional leak detection?
A professional plumber has access to advanced leak detection tools that can locate even well-concealed leaks. It doesn’t always come to that, however: our plumbers, being experienced professionals who have seen just about everything, also have the intuition to connect the dots between different forms of water damage and certain locations of leaks. We’ll then back up that hunch by performing some tests, which we’ll talk about in the next section.
What tools do plumbers use for leak detection?
First, we’ll turn off the water supply to your home and then check your water meter. If the meter has advanced, this means that there is a continuing leak caused by a water pipe. This first test eliminates the possibility of the water damage being caused by a roof leak, which is a common scenario many homeowners here in the Jackson area encounter.
Our plumbers have advanced tools that allow us to pinpoint the origin point of a pipe leak with uncanny accuracy. They include:
- Acoustic devices: The ever-so-slight murmur of water moving or dripping out of a pipe is below normal human hearing, which is why we use acoustic listening devices that are capable of “hearing” this very faint sound. We can then trace the sound back to its source.
- Video inspection: We can run a snake tool with a video camera attachment down the pipe to find the point where water is leaking. This is typically a good way for a plumber to follow up and confirm an educated guess they have about where the leak is.
The great thing about this service is that pinpointing the exact spot where the leak is means minimal tearing into the drywall, ceilings, or foundation. To make an analogy to surgery, which situation would you rather have: a professional who knows exactly where the bullet is in the body and makes exact, precise cuts to access and remove it, or an amuteur who kinda-sorta-maybe knows where it is and is just going to go for it?
We’re here for all your plumbing and leak detection needs
At Dent Air Conditioning, we’re proud to employ some of the most experienced plumbers in the Jackson area. Our plumbers are true professionals who bring the right mix of knowledge, experience, training, and tools to every job. In short, if you have a leak that needs to be repaired fast, we’re the team you want to call for 24/7 emergency service. Give us a call at (601) 366-5338 now.