Having a water line leak at your residence or business is not always so obvious. You may see water stains on a wall or floor, you may have a small drip from a faucet, or you may go about your business as usual not realizing anything is wrong. Even a small drip from a pipe can result in gallons of water being wasted. Your water bill can increase significantly. The leak can worsen and the water line can rupture if you don’t address the problem.
The first problem is not realizing you have a leak. Mystery leaks are the ones you don’t see because they are behind a wall or beneath a slab. They can be very elusive. You may hear water flowing and not know where it is coming from. Or you may find out there is a problem when you see the jump on your water bill.
Once you get past the first problem and realize you have a mystery leak, the next problem is locating it. There are a few steps you can take to help determine the location.
Check your plumbing appliances and fixtures.
The easiest way to spot a leak is to see if it is coming from a dripping faucet or running toilet. Go around your house or business to make sure all your faucets are properly turned off. You can do a test for your toilets by adding food coloring in the back tank and see if it travels into the bowl without flushing. You also want to listen for continuous running. A plumber can help you inspect your appliances and fixtures and repair or replace them, if needed.
Perform a test at your water meter.
Turn off all your plumbing appliances and close all faucets and other fixtures, then verify your water meter at the street is not spinning. Make sure your outside faucets are also turned off. Even the slightest turn of your meter can signify a leak.
Test the water shut off valve.
If you see that the water meter at the street is spinning and you are certain all your appliances are turned off, your next step is to narrow down the location to inside or outside your home. Turn the main shut off valve for water coming into your home in the off position and check if the water meter at the street is still turning. If the water meter spins when the main shut off valve in your home is off, your leak is outside the house. If the spinning stops when the main valve to your home is off, then your leak is inside the house. You may have other shut-off valves throughout the house to help narrow down a specific area of the leak.
Look for other clues around your water lines.
It helps you to narrow down your search to inside or outside the house, but a mystery leak can still be hard to find. For suspected leaks inside your house, search for signs such as cracks, a dome shape forming in the concrete, unusual wet spots, or the sound of running water. For suspected leaks outside, search for unusually wet areas in your lawn or flower beds. Healthy flowers that you haven’t watered recently and are located near underground water lines can also be a clue.
Even if you have a generalized idea about where a leak is located, the leak can travel to a different location before it is visible. Contact your local plumber to help determine the exact location and then repair or replace the line. Plumbers such as High Priority Plumbing have non-invasive leak detection equipment to locate leaks.
Take care of problems with mystery leaks as soon as possible before your problem escalates. High Priority Plumbing can assist you in locating the leak and repairing or replacing the line, appliance or fixture. Call us at 770.860.8110 in Atlanta or 912.373.7707 in Savannah.