How to Detect a Water Leak

AllClear 6:05 pm

How to Detect a Water Leak

For a homeowner, there is no easy do-it-yourself test for a suspected water leak. A water leak can happen just about anywhere in a home with plumbing and they are frustrating to deal with. They often cause damage to your home, may be difficult to locate, and are expensive to repair. Basically, they cause some heavy-duty homeowner stress.

finding a leaking pipe in your house

Here’s a guide to dealing with water leak repair:

Be a Leak Finder

It pays (like in real money) to be proactive about finding leaks in your home. Undiagnosed water leaks in houses around the country cost Americans over a trillion gallons of clean water each year. Fixing water leaks save homeowners an average of 10 percent on their water bill.

Of course, sometimes a water leak doesn’t need hunting. There are several obvious signs of a water leak:

  • A higher than usual water bill
  • Water spots on the ceiling
  • Damp walls
  • Mysterious puddles

If you hear water running in your home when no fixtures are on, that is a sure sign of a water leak. Follow the sound to narrow down the spot of the leak.

Pro Tip: If there is a water spot on the ceiling and you aren’t sure if it is from an active leak, try this before calling a plumber. In pencil, draw a light line around the outer edge of the water spot. Wait a day or two, run water above, and see if the water spot grows beyond your pencil marks. Unless it has rained, chances are you have a leak.

Finding a leak or locating the leak in general terms does not mean that you have the tools to fix it or to find the exact location. Sometimes, you just need to call in a professional.

Call in Professional Leak Detection Service

When you need a professional leak detection service, call a service plumber who specifically advertises this service. This is one of the many services we offer at All Clear Plumbing. While every licensed or experienced plumber should have the skills, there is a bit of an art and science to it. The science is mostly about having the right leak detection equipment. The art is about having lots of experience with that equipment.

What Detecting Water Leaks Looks Like

A leak that is underground or a slab water leak will need special ground penetrating equipment. There are multiple types of leak detection equipment. For detecting water leaks, All Clear Plumbing uses sonar-based technology and our plumbers have perfected its use.

Plumbers require absolute silence for accurate leak detection. Because of this, the plumber may ask you to unplug appliances and turn off the air or heat. Even the hum of the refrigerator will mess up the reading. Forget trying to do leak detection near a busy road!

When the sonar leak detection equipment isn’t the right fit or the environment won’t work, our plumbers have to do it the old-fashioned way. Sometimes, it’s just crawling under the house if it’s a crawl space. Sometimes it’s following the sound and unfortunately, having to cut into the drywall. On very rare occasions, we call in the big guns from Atlanta. Let’s just hope we don’t have to call in the big guns.

The Lowdown on Slab Leak Repair

We’re not going to put this lightly – a slab leak is the worst. Unfortunately, slab water leak repair is invasive. As in, jack-hammer invasive. Unfortunately, detecting water leaks in a slab is harder and more expensive as well. Luckily, slab water leaks are relatively rare.

Signs of a slab leak repair are usually moist carpets or bubbling water at cracks or joints.

Steps for Water Leak Repair

Once the plumber has access to the leaking water pipe, repairing the water leak is relatively easy and inexpensive. Details of the repair will vary depending on the type of pipe. In fact, some types of pipe are easier to repair than others.

Whatever the type of pipe, the plumber will start by cutting out the bad section of pipe. They will then connect new pipe to replace the old.

Tip: On rare occasions, re-pressurizing the pipe with the repair will cause a new leak further down. This happens most often with copper pipes that have worn thin. This causes an effect that we call “chasing the leak” down the pipe. Eventually, the plumber may recommend a complete re-pipe. This is very rare though.

For the most part, a repair will hold the first time and plumbers know if the pipe is leaking again within moments of turning the water back on.

Cleaning Up the Mess if Water Leaks in your House

Once the plumber has performed the leak test and repaired the faulty pipe, you might have a bit of a mess on your hands. Unfortunately, All Clear Plumbing is not authorized or qualified to help you clean up this mess. We do have some great recommendations though!

For massive water remediation, you’ll need to call a disaster recovery specialist. Count on your insurance company getting involved.

For minor water remediation and carpet cleaning, we recommend Foothills Carpet Care at 864-569-9378.

Of course, for your leak detection service and water leak repair we recommend All Clear Plumbing! Since 2012, we’ve been serving the Upstate with a plumbing service your grandfather would recognize. Make your appointment today by calling 864-979-7059.

Article Author: Anja Smith

Managing Partner

Anja Smith is the author behind the All Clear Plumbing blog. She also writes regularly for Plumber Magazine,, and on Medium