There are few home-related issues as stressful to deal with as underground leaks. What makes underground leaks so insidious, is that it is incredibly hard to discern whether you have one or not, as there are very few physical signs. An underground leak left unchecked, can cause very expensive damage to your home and lead to very serious flood risks.
What are the causes of an underground leak?
More often than not, underground leaks are a result of a burst pipe, which quickly begins damaging your home’s foundational structure. During the winter months, drastic drops in temperature can cause pipes to become brittle with cold.
If the central heating system is used sporadically in winter, this sudden change in temperature can cause pipes to fracture, as they freeze then rapidly expand with heat. An underground leak can also be a result of too much pressure on the water system. If there is a clogged pipe somewhere within your home, this can put a strain on other areas of your pipe system, ultimately leading up to a burst pipe.
You can try and prevent build-up or blockages by ensuring nothing goes down your sink, toilet, or shower drain that isn’t water. Even shampoo and soap can cause build-up within pipes. The movement of your home’s foundations and soil can also interfere with even the most secure foundations. Depending on the land your home is built upon, if your home is built on marshy ground that is naturally moisture-rich, there is a chance that over time this will move, putting pressure on different areas of your pipe system.
How to know you have an underground leak
There are a few tell-tale signs you may have an underground leak, like seeing a pool of water in a corner of your property or noticing the smell of stale water. Outside of the obvious, there are a few more ways to know whether you have a leak or not.
Lower Water Pressure
If you constantly need to top up your water pressure and the local council has not alerted you to any water issues, this could suggest an underground leak. This could be caused by pipes that are eroded, clogged, or be a result of road works in your neighbourhood. You can easily check this by turning on your shower and flushing the toilet at the same time, if the shower stops running as the toilet flushes, this indicates a pressure issue.
High Water Bills
Have you noticed fluctuations in your water bills? If the lifestyle of your home has not changed and your bills are going up, this points to a plumbing issue. Keep a close eye on your water bills for a couple of months, monitoring if there is a consistent rise in water usage which doesn’t match the usage of the household.
Physical signs of water damage like sinkholes, cracked foundations, and damaged walls show there is an issue underground. Wet spots or cracked foundations in particular usually point to a damaged pipe. As dirty water should go directly to the sewer, a bad smell strongly suggests the pipe system under your home is not in working order.
Repairing an underground leak
Repairing an underground leak requires a lot of skill and knowledge, it is a task that should only be tackled by a professional. Underground leak detection experts from Aspect, can quickly locate and treat underground leaks with skill and ease. Using non-invasive methods developed with advanced technology, leaks can be found with little disruption to your home.
Professionals will most likely begin by using thermal imaging cameras which highlight the temperature of a certain area. If certain pipes show spots of heat loss, this points experts in the direction of the leak. Tracer gas may also be used to find a leak, this is when non-toxic gas is injected into the pipe system.
The gas that escapes from the pipes is then detected with electronic equipment and thus finding the leak. Unlike traditional methods of leak detection, Aspect professionals will quickly locate and treat your leak, restoring your home to working order.