Your guide to leak detection

Leak Detection Services in Baltimore Maryland

Leak detection is a powerful tool for the health of your home.  It gives you the ability to solve your plumbing problems before they become more severe.  Leak detection can also give you the peace of mind that your pressurized water lines, as well as your drain pipes, are in good working order.  If your home is currently suffering from low water pressure, the presence of unwanted water, mold, or a visibly leaky pipe, you may benefit from a leak detection service.

Our clients around Baltimore and Towson tend to be plagued by leaky pipes.  The extremes of our mid-Atlantic seasons, coupled with the fragility of historic architecture, tend to take a toll on local plumbing pipes.  C.A. Taciak & Sons has been practicing expert plumbing repair services since 1940.  If you feel your household would benefit from leak detection, please do not hesitate to schedule a service call.  Frank and Sam Taciak are available at (410) 960-2667.  If you would like to understand the process and benefits of leak detection, please take advantage of our guide below.

This article contains much information on our pipe leak detection service.  If you would like to quickly jump to a particular topic, use the links below:

Leak Detection  |  How Does It Work?  |  Benefits  |  Frequency & Symptoms  |  Repair Options

What is leak detection?

Leak detection is the process of finding leaks in water piping.  There are two types of plumbing pipes in your home.  Those that are under pressure, and those that are not. Pressurized pipes carry water to your home and to your plumbing fixtures.  Pressurized water pipes include your water main outside your home, as well as the hot and cold water pipes inside your home.  Nonpressurized pipes are simply known as drains.  Drains collect wastewater from your plumbing fixtures such as toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers. These pipes then drain this water away from your home.

Both pipes under pressure and drains can develop leaks.  Leaks on your pressure water piping are often easier to find.  A pipe under pressure is always filled with water making any leak constant.  Leaks in drain pipes can be harder to identify.  Drainage pipes are frequently empty without any water in them.  A leak in a drain pipe may only be noticeable when the drain is in use.  Leak detection is beneficial for determining the source and severity of leaks for both types of your home’s plumbing.  This powerful service can be performed both preventatively and diagnostically, thus saving your property from water damage, mold, clogs, and poor water pressure.

How does leak detection work?

Leak detection works in one of two ways.  The method used to find leaks is dependent on which type of pipe is being inspected. There are two main types of plumbing pipes in your home; those under pressure, and those that are drains.

Pressurized piping

Leak detection for pressurized water piping is fairly straightforward.  The first step is to identify the specific portion of the pipe suspected to be leaking.  Then, that section of the pipe is isolated to see if the leak is affected.

The exact location of a leak can also be found using an acoustic test.  During an acoustic test, a skilled leak detection contractor uses a specialized listening device to determine where the leak is the loudest.  This can be done audibly or with a metering system.   Beginning at a valve or meter vault, the leak detection test then traces the pipeline and seeks to find where the leak sounds loudest.  This would then indicate the location of the leak and allow for the possibility of a spot repair.

Drain Piping

Leak detection in drain piping is a bit more challenging, and thus best accomplished using a combination of methods.  If the pipe is visible, the first course of action is to identify any wet spots on or near the pipe.  If there are no pipes visible near a suspected drain leak, the goal is then to see what drain piping runs through that wet area.  At this point, both a camera inspection and a drain pipe locating procedure are performed.  A camera inspection will identify any visible irregularities inside the piping.

It is important to note that leaks in drain pipes can be attributed to bigger issues in the sewer outside the home.  If your drains are leaking beneath your basement floor, it could be a sign of a sewer blockage outside.  Cast iron pipe is an excellent material for conveying and draining water.  However, if there is a significant amount of standing water in the pipe water will seep out.  This can result in mysterious wet areas as well as foul odors.  It should be noted that because of this tendency, cast iron sewer piping in older homes can rot if it has settled (or was installed) in a manner that allows water to pool in it.

What are the benefits of leak detection?

Leak detection can be both a preventative maintenance technique for your home, and a diagnostic tool.  Think of your home as an ecosystem.  When one part of the system suffers damage, further problems spread in a chain reaction.

Consider this scenario for example.  A leaking hot water pipe drips water into a basement wall. This damp wall cavity begins to grow dangerous mold.  The leak also decreases your water pressure.  This then prevents your showers and sinks from functioning correctly.  The now lower water pressure means that debris is more likely to sit in the pipes because of insufficient water volume during drainage.  This could create serious clogs and backups.

In another instance, a leaky sewer pipe in your yard may be the product of a crack.  Left un-repaired, roots seeking nutrients will grow into the pipe.  These roots increase the size of the crack and choke down the capacity of your drain pipe.  This in turn can create a sewer backup and flood your basement with sewage.

While these examples are unfortunate, they are not uncommon.  The systems in your home work together, and are meant to function harmoniously.  Having a leak detection service performed has benefits such as:

  • Mold prevention
  • Water damage prevention
  • Maintaining high water pressure
  • Unpleasant odor prevention
  • Sewage backup prevention
  • High water bill prevention

Overall it is often more cost-effective to fix a leak than pay to repair the damage it causes.  You can’t schedule an emergency, but you can schedule preventing one.

How often should leak detection be done?

For many homeowners, an annual preventive plumbing inspection is an excellent investment in peace of mind and home health.  Using the many different forms of leak detection technology available, we make sure that your home’s plumbing is in excellent condition.  If any problems are discovered, they can then be fixed before they lead to more serious trouble.  

However, for some, this level of service does not make sense for their budgets or schedules.  It is true that the piping in your house is generally very durable and can exist relatively problem-free for many years.  Leak detection then should be done as soon as you suspect a problem.

Leak detection should be performed when you experience:

  • high water bills
  • low water pressure
  • mysterious wet spots
  • unexplained foul odors
  • mold near or below a pipe
  • unusually green patches of grass
  • hearing a constant drip from a pipe
  • seeing a constant drip from a pipe

Leaky Pipe Repair Options

If you suspect you have a leaky pipe in your home or yard, we are here to help.  Every pipe is repairable.  C.A. Taciak & Sons is a skilled leak detection contractor.  Using many different leak detection technologies, we can determine where and why your pipe is leaking.  From there, we can advise you on the best repair methods for your home and budget.  If you would like to schedule a leak detection service for your home, please contact us.

If you are interested in exploring your pipe’s repair options, please take advantage of our various plumbing guides.

Camera Inspection  |  Drain Cleaning  |  Sewer  |  Water Line  |  Septic  |  Storm Water  |  Sinkhole Repair