What to do if you suspect a leak underground

Underground leaks can cause devastation to any property if they aren’t sorted out quickly. Whilst visible leaks above ground can cause flooding, cosmetic and light structural damage, underground leaks are more sinister and can seriously damage your home. An underground leak could cause subsidence or sinking over time. More so, if you’re on a water metre, even a small leak can significantly raise your water bill.

If you suspect an underground leak in your home, you will firstly need to assess who owns and is responsible for the pipes. The local council is responsible for any pipes in the street and around foot paths, and home owners are responsible for the pipes inside their home (after the external stop tap).

Signs of an underground leak

Underground leaks can be very expensive to fix if they are not taken care of promptly to minimise damage. If you suspect there is a leak under your property, look for the following signs.

  • Soggy areas or puddles in spots around your garden when there has been no rain.
  • Areas around your home where the grass is longer and thicker may also be worth investigating. Also check for moss as this could signify a potential sewage leak.
  • If the water pressure in your home has significantly dropped this could signify an issue, you should also check for dirt or air in your water supply.
  • Cracked or warped concrete in your driveway or around your home.
  • If you see any areas in your home or around your property which used to be level, this could signal the structure and foundation of your home has been weakened and is moving.

If you find signs of an underground leak around your property, it is vital you get in touch with a professional as soon as possible. You will save a lot of money and stress the sooner a leak is detected.

Underground leak detection experts from Aspect, will be able to run tests around your home and assess the possibility of a leak. Technicians now have access to non-invasive technology which can narrow down the location of your leak without having to dig up ground.

Acoustic Equipment

One method of leak detection experts can use is acoustic equipment. Water that is under pressure creates tiny vibrations as it escapes from a pipe. Highly sensitive acoustic equipment is attached to a radio unit, which will find the exact location of these vibrations. A sensor is placed closest to the noise, which reports to other placed sensors, determining which hears the noise loudest, thus further locating where the leak is. This high tech equipment is so sensitive it can detect a tiny leak buried several feet underneath a concrete floor.

Tracer Gas

Tracer gas, a non-harmful, odourless mix of hydrogen and nitrogen, is another popular tool in a technician’s arsenal for finding underground leaks. By passing this gas- which is smaller and lighter than water particles- through water pipes, it is naturally drawn to areas where there is more air. The gas-sensitive probes will be able to recognise areas where the gas is escaping, allowing for a precise way to find a leak. The gas is lighter than air, doesn’t leave a residue and is completely safe to use on water drinking pipes. Again, this method is great as it is not invasive and is quick to carry out.

Moisture Survey

If these two methods are not successful, your technician may try to conduct a moisture survey. A moisture survey is a full external and internal inspection of your property’s damp and moisture levels, that finds any irregularities or problem areas. These surveys use thermal cameras, calcium carbide testers and air sampling for mould.

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