Most water leaks occur in unseen places such as underground. It may take a few months before it rises up on the surface for you to see. If you want to know how to detect a water leak underground, read the steps below.
At night is when you don’t use any appliances at home. Before you go to bed, make sure all your water appliances are turned off. Fill up your tanks and cisterns until they are full. It could take around 30 minutes to do it. And then make sure all the faucets and valves are turned off. Go to the water meter and take a reading. The next day when you wake up, take another meter reading before turning on any water supply.
If the second meter reading is higher than the first one, it’s highly possible that there’s a water leak underground or other inaccessible location. There are still other ways for you to confirm if there is a leak. You should try them before contacting a plumber.
Inspect every hose and tap joints, as well as toilets for leaks. To check for faucet leaks, turn the faucet off and listen closely near the water pipe. If there’s a running water sound, it could be a leak. To check for a toilet leak, add food colouring inside the tank and wait for a few minutes. If the color reaches the bowl then you have a toilet leak. To check for hose leaks, take a walk around your garden on a sunny day. If you happen to step on a damp spot, or if there’s an area that’s greener than the rest, it could be a hose leak.
If everything is turned off and are sure that the faucets, toilets and hose aren’t leaking and yet the dials on your meter are still moving, you most likely have a hidden leak in an underground pipe. This is the best time to contact a professional.
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Locating leaks with hydraulics
Some plumbing companies use hydraulic processes to detect leaks in underground water pipes. Water pressure in the leaking pipe powers the hydraulics. It is an effective method because of low operating cost of the equipment. It will also not disrupt your household routine during the inspection. Even if the plumber doesn’t know where the pipes are located, he will still be able to detect the leak location.
The hydraulic ferret head is placed inside the pipe. It looks like a deflated balloon connected to a long coil. Once the ferret head is inflated with water, it produces a higher pressure than in the water pipe, preventing water from passing through. This produces a water tight space for the ferret head to pass through the pipe and find the leak.
The plumber will know where the leak is located because the pressure in the ferret head will suddenly drop and stop the device. The control system will tell you that the pressure has dropped so you’ll be digging at the exact place.