Leaking water can cost you a lot of money if you don’t find, stop and fix the leak. Plumbers charge extra for finding a leak as it can often take a while in a big property with lots of rooms (or a little property with lots of leaks). To save some money you can follow this helpful, insightful, and described in some areas of the plumbing world as “parable-esque” guide to help you find the leak before contacting your local plumbing service.
Top Tips to Try
First, check you haven’t just left your tap running. The amount of people who call out a tradesman only to realise when they arrive that they’ve just left the tap on and that’s why the house is now a swimming pool may surprise you!
Start by checking your hot water tank’s pressure relief valve; sometimes these valves are plumbed directly into the drain and you may be unaware of a leak. If you can’t remove the drain covering listen for a hissing sound that may indicate a leak.
Another good indication is wetness. If there is a distinct “wet patch” or a fully unabashed waterfall where there usually isn’t one (i.e. your living room), this may suggest a leak.
To check if the leak stems from your toilet and it isn’t visibly leaking, remove the back lid and again listen for a hissing sound. If there’s no audible sound and you still suspect a leak put some food colouring into the cistern and wait for a few minutes. If the food colouring ends up in the toilet bowl, you have found your leak. Assess whether you can fix the leak yourself or get in touch with your nearest plumbing service.
To check the meter line, switch off the water at the shut off valve and see if the meter is still turning. If it does turn, there is a problem between the meter and the house; if the meter doesn’t turn, then the leak is inside the house (again, note any wet patches, dripping, ankle deep puddles where there was previously dry carpet). A walk between the meter and the shut off valve will alert you to any obvious signs of leaking, such as muddy grass areas, puddles, patches of greener grass than the rest or grass with a faster growth rate than other areas. Other sources of leaks that are in your garden could be hoses, outdoor taps and swimming pools, if you’re lucky enough to have one.
It is often very difficult to find a leak (apart from the very obvious examples present above); but going through these procedures should be able to give you a better idea of where the leak is located. Sometimes it’s trial and error, narrowing down your lines of investigation. As the famous detective Sherlock Holmes once said: “Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” This translates well into the plumbing service philosophy (he was, after all, talking specifically about finding a leak, wasn’t he?). Ultimately, to save you the grief of hunting down a meddlesome leak, if you get an expert in you will spend less time searching for leaks as it’s all part of the plumbing service they provide.