Many homes across Hampton Roads, VA, are currently dealing with small, unseen leaks, though their owners may not necessarily be aware. Catching these small leaks can be hard because they are often located in hard-to-see places (like inside walls) or in rarely traversed areas of a property (like the crawl space).
Learning to spot the signs of these hidden leaks is incredibly important for any homeowner. These days, there are a number of ways you can go about discovering these leaks.
Why Leak Detection Matters
Water may be abundant in some areas of the U.S. today, but in many places (especially in urban areas), it is important to conserve water where possible. For you personally, leaks mean a higher water bill, even when you are trying to conserve water and limit your usage. On a wider scale, these hidden leaks can add up to thousands of gallons of water being lost in a single street every day. Successful leak detection on private property (and in the city as a whole) is important for financial and environmental reasons.
Signs That You Have Hidden Leaks in Your Home
The most obvious and easy way to identify leaks in a property is, of course, by seeing a visible drip or stream of water, or via finding areas of flooding or pooling water in your property. These signs account for less than half of leaks overall, however, and tend to only come from larger leaks or areas of damage. Very small leaks, minor areas of damage, or leaks in hidden areas are harder to discover. Short of regularly traversing all of the nooks and crannies in your property, there is not much that you as a homeowner can do alone.
Watching out for these subtle signs of hidden leaks can help, however.
Gradually Lowered Water Pressure
Water pressure is important to everyday life. From your shower to your kitchen sink, every faucet and water-reliant appliance in your property relies on the right level of water pressure to function effectively. If you notice a sudden dip in water pressure from your shower or faucets, this is a sign you have a leak.
Increasing Water Bills
An increase in your water bills despite no changes to your consumption is a strong sign that you have one or more hidden leaks in your property. This extra cost is because the extra water you are being charged for is leaking into your home.
Sudden increases in relative humidity are a strong sign that you have hidden leaks in your home, especially if the humidity is localized to a specific room or area. You can notice increases in humidity by condensation, a musty smell, fluctuating temperatures, and mold formation.
Fluctuating Water Temperatures
Sudden changes in water temperature when you are showering or running your faucets is another sign that there is a leak somewhere between your faucet or shower and the water heater. This can also be caused by a faulty water heater.
As you may have noticed, many of these signs can be caused by other issues too. This is where more advanced leak detection methods come into their own. Acoustic detection methods are used at a macro level to detect large leaks in city water systems, but they can be used on private properties too.
Advanced Leak Detection Techniques
At the moment there are many different macro techniques used to monitor city and statewide water networks, but most of these are not applicable to single properties. One technique that is quickly starting to be used at the street level, however, is audio detection. This process involves connecting a listening device to a fire hydrant in order to monitor the local system for small leaks.
In 2017, however, a group of European scientists posited that methods like control charting, Kriging techniques, and Kalman filter techniques could be used alongside sound recordings to discover leaks in hard-to-reach or hidden areas in a property. By using audio fingerprinting and recording, it may soon be possible for professionals to reliably identify leaks behind walls without the need for invasive exploration. There are even some rudimentary examples of this technology in place right now.
While it is currently difficult to find leaks in hard-to-reach or rarely traveled areas in a property, the future looks bright. New technology that will make it easy to pinpoint leaks without unnecessary and invasive investigation is on the horizon. If you think you may have a hidden leak, be sure to call A1 Sewer & Drain in Hampton Roads, VA, for an inspection as well as effective and speedy service.