Steps followed by expert plumbers to detect and repair leaks

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It is challenging to detect water leaks in your home until they get severe. A leaking faucet, toilet failure, or even a burst pipe could be causing whooping bills that you can't afford.

Hence, it is essential to contact the best plumbers immediately and know what signs to look out for before you have a major plumbing problem. The best plumbers will have the right set of tools and knowledge to track down the source of water leaks, repair them in no time, and save you from serious plumbing problems.

Here are the steps they follow for water leak detection and repair.

Steps followed by expert plumbers to detect and repair leaks

Step 1: Check for Any Visible Sign for a Leak

Examine the areas around your sinks, toilets, and appliances like water heaters to look for any sign of dampness or discolouration on walls and floors.

Some plumbers also advise listening out for the sound of running water which is not audible to our ears. A running toilet can be checked by shutting down the water supply and examining for any sign of a water leak.

Step 2: Use of Electro-Magnetic Induction (EMI) Leak Detector

An EMI detector is a hand-held device that works on the principle that all metals conduct electricity under certain conditions. An EMI is used to detect the presence of a gas leak. It can also find an electric current in metallic pipelines.

Most plumbers use an EM device for finding out hard-to-detect leaks behind walls, under floors, or in ceilings. After locating the suspected area with the help of an EM device, they then conduct further tests by making small drill holes to reach the source of the leak and taking measurements.

Step 3: Use of Acoustic Leak Detection Equipment

Leaks that are very close to the surface or send out a sound with high frequency can be detected by using acoustic leak detection equipment for homes and offices. When water flows through a damaged pipe, it could hit against the surrounding surface with a high frequency, causing a sound. Some of the best plumbers in Hawaii also coat the suspected areas with a fluorescent chemical sensitive to ultraviolet rays and scan it with a blacklight to find leaks.

Step 4: Pressure Testing of the Pipelines

In this leak detection method, compressed air or water is passed through pipelines at a very high water pressure to try and locate the leaks. For finding large leaks, this process is done by shutting down the main water valve for a few minutes. If it's an underground leak, turning off irrigation systems could help detect it.

Step 5: Use of Thermal Imaging Camera

Plumbers use thermal imaging cameras that record thermal emissions from objects. They can detect variations in surface temperature, which can signify a water leak behind walls or under floors.

This method is quite effective for finding out leaks between studs and joists and those that travel along heating and cooling ducts.

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Step 6: Cutting Open the Wall to Reveal What's Behind

For a deeper inspection, a plumber may have to cut open a section of the wall or floor. It is the last resort but an effective way to find leaky pipes and fittings inside walls or floors. Once the source of a water leak is detected, it would be repaired as fast as possible to prevent more damage from occurring.

Step 7: Assess the Extent of Water Damage and then Initiate Repair

A plumber can assess the extent of water damage caused by a leak, especially if it's not evident right away. They use several tools for this purpose. For example, moisture meters can detect high levels of humidity in walls and ceilings made from sheetrock or gypsum.

The device is moved across the walls' surface to detect potential signs of mould. Alternatively, portable ultrasonic inspection equipment can create sound waves that travel through a surface to locate cracks and defects behind it.

Step 8: Replace all Affected Pipes, Fittings and Appliances

If it's an underground leak, the plumber may have to dig a ditch. It can be in front of or along the side of your house.

It is done to expose all damaged sections running next to your home. Depending on the damage, you may need to replace all affected pipes, fittings, and appliances around your living areas.

Step 9: Fix the Leak and Clean Up

Once all affected pipes, fittings, and appliances are replaced, a plumber will turn on the main water valve to refill your pipelines. Check for any leaks by running water in your bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry areas. 

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