How to Find a Mystery LeakBrian Simpson | Jan 11, 2017
You may have heard a neighbor talk about a mystery leak that he couldn’t find. A mystery leak is a puzzle because there are signs of a leak but the actual location is elusive. It can happen to anyone.
So, what do you do if you suspect a leak but don’t visually see it?
Understand the signs
The first step is to recognize signs that could indicate a mystery leak. Sometimes the increase in your water bill is the first sign that you have a problem. Another sign is hearing running water when you don’t have any faucets or appliances on. A phantom flush from a toilet is also a sign of a leak.
Test for a leak
There are a few tests you can do to verify if you have a leak. The first is to do a meter check. This involves turning off all your faucets and plumbing appliances (washing machine, dishwasher, etc.) then going outside to the water meter. Once you open the lid, look at the meter to see if it is spinning. Even the slightest bit of a spin could indicate a leak. If it is spinning, go inside and turn off the water shut-off valve for the building. Go back outside and check the meter. If the meter continues to spin when the water shut-off valve to the building is off, you have a leak outside the building. If the meter stops and only spins when the valve is on, this indicates a problem inside.
When you suspect a leak inside your building, another test that is very helpful is the dye test. Leaking toilets or phantom flushes from toilets are common problems with plumbing. To test for a leak, take food coloring and pour a tablespoon or two into the tank. Don’t flush. You want to wait about 10 to 15 minutes to see if the food coloring gets into the bowl. If it does, you have a leak from the tank to the bowl.
Do an inspection
When determining a leak location, there could be visual signs that turn up when you inspect your plumbing. For outside, look at your faucets to verify they are turned off and not dripping. Inspect the ground where your lines run for unusual areas of moisture. For inside the building, look underneath sinks and around cables and hoses on appliances for evidence of water. A small bit of water in a sink can indicate a dripping faucet. Look for wet spots on the ceiling or walls where pipes run along. Buckling of concrete or cracking in your slab can also indicate a water leak.
Locating the mystery leak
If you find the actual location of a leak from a visual inspection, then you can arrange a repair. If you see a wet spot on a ceiling or wall, then you have a general idea of the area of the leak. But even though you see a wet spot, that doesn’t mean the leak is in that exact location. Water travels along the easiest path and it might be several feet away from a wet spot on the wall. The mystery is in locating where it is coming from. And more elusive leaks, such as beneath the slab or ground, might not have any visual signs.
Tracing a leak in your plumbing can be tricky. It is necessary to find the source and get it fixed before a pipe bursts, floods a home, and causes mildew and mold. High Priority Plumbing has leak detection equipment to help locate a mystery leak. We have cameras that can go inside pipes to locate problem areas. Non-intrusive equipment such as these can locate the source before tearing open the ceiling or walls, minimizing drywall repair and other costs.
Contact High Priority Plumbing for assistance in finding and repairing water leaks. Our expert plumbers are available 24/7 for water line repairs. Call us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta.