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How Long Does Plumbing Leak Detection Take?

How Long Does Plumbing Leak Detection Take?

Plumbing leak detection is a crucial part of the repair process, but it can take time (anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours). If you suspect a leak in your home, time is of the essence. A professional must find the leak before it does substantial damage. At Waldrop, various types of plumbing leak detection let our technicians quickly identify the source so they can work quickly and precisely.

The prospect of needing a plumbing repair can invoke thoughts of broken-up walls, floors, and ceilings and weeks of disruption. However, modern technology, and some clever leak detection methods, allow many leaks to be fixed on the spot.

The Water Leak Detection Timeframe

It usually takes an hour or less to detect a leak. The exact time depends on various factors, such as how far the plumber has to travel, where the leak is, access to the affected area, and the method used. The complexity of your plumbing system is also a consideration.

Once a plumber arrives and begins the leak detection process, the method they use can determine how long it takes. We’ll look at some estimated timeframes based on the various ways to approach plumbing leak detection:

  • Thermal Imaging (30 to 45 minutes): A thermal imaging camera yields relatively quick results as a water leak is at a different temperature than surrounding materials. A trained eye can spot the telltale color patterns immediately. However, the technician may want to check from the other side of the wall and at other locations in several-minute increments as they take notes and digital photographs.
  • Video Camera Inspection (30 to 60 minutes): A video inspection requires setting up equipment and running a miniature camera through the pipe. It’s attached to a fiber optic cable, allowing the technician to move it through the line and view the feed on a video monitor (in real-time). Detection time depends on the location of the leak, which may be behind a wall or underground near your home.
  • Acoustic Leak Detection: A microphone can pick up the sound of a leak directly through a material, such as drywall, stone, brick, or concrete. Other plumbing leak detection systems use two or more sensors to correlate the direction and intensity of sound to estimate where a leak is. More extensive analysis can increase the amount of time needed. Mathematical algorithms and computer equipment may be required to analyze data.

Slab Leak Detection

It’s easy to overlook the signs of a slab leak. Some leaks go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years. A floor may be only slightly damp. But if there have been no spills, it’s time to call a plumber. A variety of equipment can be used for slab leak detection, including acoustic, infrared, or electronic amplification devices. Some slab leaks can be identified quickly; others are more subtle and can require a thorough investigation that can take hours or days, if not longer.

Leak Detection via Warning Signs

You can immediately suspect a leak and call a plumber to address it if you notice:

  • Water pooling on the floor or ground
  • Low water pressure
  • Musty odors
  • Ceiling stains
  • Mold and mildew
  • Running water sounds
  • Damaged paint/wallpaper

High water bills can also indicate a leak. But is a higher bill due to a temporary spike in rates or did you use more water that month? It’s important to check your water bill each month and compare it to past bills, but keep in mind that this approach to leak detection can take months.

Finding a Leak Using Your Water Meter

You can detect a leak using your water meter. During a 30-minute period, don’t use any water. Record the numbers you see on the meter and check again a half-hour later (or, you can wait 1 to 2 hours to take another reading). There’s no leak if the numbers haven’t changed. However, if there is a change, a leak is present. Call a plumber who may employ other plumbing leak detection methods to find its location.

You can also determine if the leak is inside or outside your home. To do so, turn off the main water shut-off valve, which should be in the basement or garage. If the meter indicator stops moving, the leak is inside your house. However, if the readings change, the leak is outside, somewhere between the meter and the house.

Detecting a Toilet Leak

If you hear running water in your toilet tank when it’s not flushing, there may be a leak. To verify it, add food coloring or a test tablet to the tank. If the coloring appears in the bowl, the tank is leaking. This test can take from 10 to 30 minutes.

Call Waldrop for Professional Plumbing Leak Detection

We use effective methods to quickly detect and locate plumbing leaks. These allow us to promptly fix them and minimize the damage. Customers throughout the Greenville and Spartanburg area rely on us to find and resolve hidden issues, whether they originate from a plumbing fixture, under a concrete slab, or sewer line. To request plumbing leak detection on your property, schedule service online or call(864) 536-0887.

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