Are you wondering how on earth a plumber can detect a water leak, especially if it’s hidden? While living in Boise comes with a low cost of living, the last thing you want are unresolved and potentially costly plumbing issues. Leaks can go unnoticed, resulting in high water bills, structural damage, and other issues, and it can be tough to find a leaking pipe or connection yourself unless you know exactly what to look for. 

Our expert team at Express Plumbing, Heating, and Air can efficiently pinpoint and repair leaks. Check out the common equipment and methods we use to find leaks whether underground, behind drywall, or under floorboards.

Signs of Hidden Leaks

Leaks can cause extensive damage if hidden and unresolved. Even if you can’t see the source of the leak yourself, a few signs can suggest that you have a hidden leak. If you notice any of the following issues, it’s time to call a plumber to find your hidden leak:

  • High water bills
  • Visible foundation damage
  • Musty odors
  • Damp or moldy drywall
  • Wet flooring
  • Leaking sounds

The Best Leak Detection Tools: Professional Training and Licensing

A plumber’s best tool for locating hidden leaks is their own training. Licensed plumbers with standardized training and experience can rely on their expert skills and intuition to analyze the signs and symptoms of water leaks. This expertise allows plumbers to locate, access, and repair leaks quickly, preventing further water damage. Here’s how they do it:

Visual Inspection

Plumbers generally start their search with a visual inspection of your plumbing system. They’ll look for obvious signs throughout your home, such as mold, water stains, or dripping water. The visual inspection also encompasses any fixtures or appliances hooked up to the plumbing system, including sinks, irrigation lines, laundry machines, and more.

Water Pressure Testing

Water pressure testing, also called isolation testing, allows plumbers to check for leaks by observing water movement, usage, and loss within your plumbing system. The plumber attaches a water pressure gauge to a faucet or fixture connection, turns the fixture on to pressurize the gauge, and turns the water meter off to observe the gauge pressure. 

If the gauge’s pressure decreases, there’s likely a leak in the system. By going through your home and shutting off valves to isolate fixtures, such as toilets, from the system, plumbers can use the pressure test to rule out certain connections. 

Video Pipe Inspection

Video pipe inspections can help plumbers detect a water leak and other plumbing issues beneath your foundation, in the walls, or in other inaccessible areas without doing a full demolition. 

These cameras are durable and waterproof and feature an LED light and high-resolution video quality to ensure a clear picture of plumbing issues. The camera is installed on the end of a scope rod that can bend and maneuver around the curves of your plumbing system.

Once the technician inserts the camera, they can observe the live video feed on the linked monitor. Besides ongoing leaks, they can also look for any cracks, corrosion, or other damage that may cause leaks later on. Some cameras also feature transmitters that allow plumbers to mark underground leak locations from above.

Thermal Imaging Cameras

Thermal imaging cameras, or heat scanners, can detect hidden leaks in hot water pipes behind walls, floors, or other obstructions. Using infrared imaging, these cameras can identify issues that aren’t visibly obvious, such as excessive moisture or temperature variations. These tools can scan broad areas, allowing our plumbers to efficiently pinpoint leaks. 

Audio Equipment

Listening discs, ground microphones, deck plates, and other audio equipment help plumbers detect leaks through drywall, cabinets, and other obstructions by amplifying and isolating leaking sounds from behind the surface. Deck plates and other equipment are powerful enough to detect leaks through concrete, brick, and other similar materials.

Plumbers place these types of devices against a surface and listen through headphones to the sound of water traveling through the pipes. By analyzing the sound, plumbers can find the general area of the leak and confirm the precise location with other methods.

Soil Probe

Soil probes, also called pipe probes, are audio devices that can detect underground leaks in sewer lines and water mains, which can escalate into structural damage to your property if left unchecked. 

The technician looks for signs, such as wet soil patches, and follows the suspected plumbing area with the probe to listen for leaks. Experience and skill can tell the plumber about the type of leak, its depth, and how to best fix it. 

Dye Testing

Often used for leaks related to toilet or pool systems, dye tests are a non-invasive way to trace the leak’s location. The plumber introduces a high-visibility colored dye in the system where they suspect a leak, then observes the flow and watches for the dye to leak from plumbing connections. If the leak is obscured, the dye test can lead the plumber to the source of the leak.

Trust Express Plumbing, Heating, and Air to Find and Repair Hidden Leaks

Proper plumbing plays a major role in water conservation and keeping water bills affordable in Boise, which is why finding hidden leaks is key for managing your water use. Besides keeping your water usage and costs in check, finding hidden leaks can help you avoid damage to your home.

Using advanced tools and techniques such as thermal imaging and listening devices, our plumbers can expertly locate a leak’s precise location. For service in Boise, Caldwell, Nampa, and other nearby areas in Idaho, contact us at Express Plumbing, Heating, and Air.

Brad Jordan

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