Leak Detection Can Mean Lots of Work

You have plumbing pipes running all throughout your home — in your walls, under your floors and even deep under your lawn. A leak can happen just about anywhere, and depending on the location and water flow, it could be extremely difficult to detect.


But that doesn’t mean you can just disregard a potential leak. Water damage can be extremely destructive, and that’s not to mention the waste and the additional dollars on your monthly water bill. It’s important for your home, your wallet and your planet to be vigilant against plumbing leaks — but it can involve a lot of work.


The Easy Part


Gathering evidence that you might have a leak is relatively easy. Many homeowners get the idea something could be wrong when they get a higher-than-average water bill. If your water habits haven’t changed but your water bill spikes, it’s time for some sleuthing.


Walk around your home and property looking for visible signs of dampness or water damage. Your nose can aid you here, since leaks will often result in smelly mold or mildew.


If you don’t find the leak right away, there’s a simple test. Shut off all the water-using appliances in your home, including things like automatic ice makers. Check your water meter and write down the current reading. For the next few hours, don’t use any water in your home. Check the meter again — if it has changed, you likely have a leak.


Find It, Fix It


If you’re confident you have a plumbing leak but you still can’t find the source, it’s usually time to call a plumber. A plumbing expert can help you identify parts of your household plumbing system that you might not even know are there. And with the use of cameras on the end of long, flexible plumbing snakes, a plumber can help you see just about every inch of pipe in your system.


But if you want to get proactive about plumbing leaks, you might look into water sensors. These devices can be installed in areas where hidden leaks may occur, and the most sophisticated versions can even automatically shut off the water supply when excess moisture is detected.


Water sensors can be expensive, so they’re not practical for all applications. If you don’t think it’s worth the expense, you can just make a practice of keeping a keen eye (and nose) for signs of water damage as you move and work throughout your home.


Useful plumbing and heating tips

We understand that sometimes things can go drastically wrong and we are on hand 24 hrs to help with any emergencies.

Some of the disasters however can be prevented by simple maintenance. Have a look at some of our Plumbing Tips, they may help!

General tips:

  • Locate both indoor and outdoor isolation valves to your property.
  • Check Valves operate correctly every 3 months.
  • Ensure Pipe work and tanks are protected from cold weather by insulating them properly.
  • When it is really cold, prevent pipes from becoming frozen. If you open your loft hatch and allow warm air to rise into the loft space, this will stop the cistern from freezing.
  • Have your heating system serviced annually, this will ensure that it is in good working order and can  increase boiler and system efficiency
  • Ensure all appliances have means of isolation.
  • Find the location of all emergency controls for both electrical and fuel supply to your heating system


Kitchen and Bathroom tips:

Do not allow taps and valves to drip, early prevention can save time and money especially if you water supply is metered.

Label valves to isolate individual parts of both cold and hot water supply.

Know exactly where the stop value is for incoming water and that it works properly.

Do you know the location of your outside manhole? You may need access to your drains.

Do not leave leaking taps or ball values go unchecked, this generally means that your plumbing system needs some form of maintenance or repair.

Don’t pour cooking oils or fats down the drain, they may solidify and block the drain!

Use a strainer in the bathroom wash basin and bath to collect hair and soap.

Removing the air lock

A tap which fails to supply water when opened may well be airlocked.

To overcome this, attach a length of hosepipe to the affected tap and connect the other end to a working direct feed tap. In most cases this will be the cold tap on the kitchen sink.

Open both taps to allow the pressure of the mains water to force the air back out of the pipes. Leave to act for several minutes, then turn off the air locked tap first.

It may be necessary to repeat this a few times to release the lock and allow water to run properly.

When finished, undo the hose from the higher of the two taps, before releasing the lower and allowing the water in the hose to drain into the sink.

Air lock at more than one tap

If more than one tap appears to be airlocked, clear it from the lowest one.

With cold water pipes from the attic cistern, it may also be possible to blow out the airlock if the above method fails.

Push a length of hose into the outlet pipe within the tank. Open the tap at the other end. Blow through the pipe to dislodge the lock.

Draining down to remove an air lock

As a final resort method, drain the system down. Turn off the water feed and open all the taps to drain the water.

Close all taps until they are about a three quarters closed. Turn the water supply back on.

Adjust them all until a light, even flow of water is achieved.

Now go round opening them one by one to the half-open position, starting with the lowest and working upwards.

Repeat at the three quarters open position. Once all air has been discharged, turn all taps off to a point where there is only a minimal flow.

Finally, close them all before checking the operation of each in turn.