02 Jan. 19

Techniques & Tools Used to Locate Plumbing Leaks

When a leak occurs in a single or multiple pipes running under a home’s “slab” or cement foundation, it is referred to as a slab leak. Slab leaks are very difficult for homeowners to discover and nearly impossible to pinpoint at their precise location due to the hidden nature of the leaks. Specialized equipment and techniques are often required to pinpoint the leak’s location in the pipe. From there excavation is usually required to expose the damaged line for repair.

In the more than 25 years that Metroplex Leak & Line Locators has been in business isolating, pinpointing, and repairing plumbing leaks in Dallas Texas, we have developed a few techniques that are unique to us. It is our approach to leak location coupled with our investment in state-of-the-art technology that has allowed us to become the leading plumbers providing leak detection in all of Dallas.

Below we will discuss some of the techniques and tools that we use and those used by other plumbers to locate and repair slab leaks in residential homes.

Electronic Listening Equipment

If you have ever called in to a plumbing company to request leak detection service for your home or business chances are high that you’ve also asked them how they find the leaks.  It is very likely that the response you received was, “we listen for leaks.” To which your likely response  was, “well… umm… I can do that!” What they may have failed to share was that they utilize highly specialized, ultra sensitive listening equipment to listen for running water and dripping. Think of it like a mega-charged stethoscope. The equipment is extremely costly and takes a high degree of training to operate but it can save homeowners thousands of dollars by providing fast leak detection and removing the need to jackhammer through their slab foundation to expose a leak’s location.

Sewer Video Camera Inspection

When plumbing leaks occur in fresh water lines it is usually an easier task to locate and repair than when they occur in a sewer line. Sewer lines are responsible for carrying waste water away from a home and into the city’s sewer system or an on-property septic tank. Because they carry more than just potable water, sewer lines have a larger diameter than fresh water pipes. That larger diameter has led to the advent of the sewer camera. Just like the name implies, a sewer camera is a camera that can be pushed through a sewer line to explore the line for breaks, intrusions, and other leaks. The video feed of the inspection is fed back to a monitor located beside the plumber running the camera providing both the plumber & homeowner with an interior view of their pipe.

Electromagnetic Locator

Electromagnetic locators are another useful tool in locating hidden plumbing leaks. Not especially good for locating the exact location of a leak per se, cable and line locators as they are also known, are great at locating and tracing utility lines & metal pipes. They can help a plumber map out a homes pipes and plumbnig system while exposing anomalies along the way.

Gas Tracer

Another tool in the plumbing arsenal for locating leaks is a gas tracer system. Just as the name implies gas tracer systems are effective for locating the source of gas leaks. Used across many industries, like the pertrochemical industry, and the automotive industry, gas tracer systems are accurate and fast, two things to be appreciated when dealing with potentially fatal gas line leaks.

Experience & Intuition

The final tool on our list is perhaps the most important to possess: a plumbers experience and intuition. When you run a business like ours, where 90% of the service calls you run are for plumbing leaks, you get plenty of practice diagnosing and pinpointing the location of leaks. After nearly 30 years in this business we have seen thousands of different leak types and our team of dedicated plumbing contractors has had the ability to get darn good at finding them, fast. Without the proper training, ongoing education, and experience, all of the high-powered tools available to us would be useless.