Could you Have an Undetected Water Leak?

If you have noticed a spike in water usage on your latest water bill, this probably means that you have an undetected water leak. If this is the case, here are a few tips to follow to find and fix it.

If the water leak is sudden and serious, call your plumber immediately and explain the situation. Their response time will depend on the scale of the leak and the potential damage to surroundings.

The Invisible Water Leak

Identifying the source of the leak and fixing it will be your two main tasks here. Unless the leak is exposed and is easily fixable, you may need some gear to get this done.

You may be required to dig up, pull up, or scan parts of your house to find the source. Unless you are experienced at DIY, fixing it will be in the domain of a qualified plumber if you don’t want the problem to just be put on hold.

Before plunging into the dirty business of tearing your land up or breaking your walls, try applying a few simple steps.

Finding the Source

  1. First of all, let’s go back to the drawing board. Have you exhausted all the options to check for leaks?  These include faucets, sprinklers, washing machines, dishwashers, garden hoses, cisterns, showers, baths, pool valves and concrete, etc.
  2. Go around your property looking for wet patches or odd sounds.
  3. Bear in mind any recent changes to your property and focus some of your energy on investigating them. So, for example, if a new fence has been put up or a tree has been removed, check out the plumbing near to these sites.
  4. Take a reading of the water meter at a time when you do not use the water (i.e. at night), then another in the morning.
  5. Calculate the cost of the spike and how much water you must have lost to justify it.

This process should give you a fair idea of the scale and size of the leak you are looking for.

If you’ve checked all the places that you can without specialised equipment but still can’t find the leak, then you have two options. Buy or rent equipment to detect the leak or hire someone with experience and the right equipment for the job.

Specialised gear, such as infrared detectors, sound detectors, sensistor hydrogen detectors  and thermal imaging, will make detecting an underground or hidden leak much easier and less invasive to repair.

Fixing the Leak

To fix the leak, you may have to tear down a part of a wall or dig up some concrete or garden, but once the leak is found, the job becomes much clearer. But the price of doing so varies depending on a few criteria.

Depending on if the leak is on your property or on council land, you may not have the same responsibilities in terms of what you should pay.

Since the property owner typically owns the pipes between the main pipe and the pipe connecting to the property, the cost of repairing these falls onto the landowner.

If the damage was caused by something or someone else, however, these concerns should be taken up with one’s insurance and the responsible party.

The cost of repair can vary on average between $100 and $12,000, depending on the extent of the damage and the complexity of the repair job. Sydney Council, however, offers a $99 call out fee for each inspection, on top of the expertise and materials that they would provide.

There is a possible reduction in cost for the first time if the leak is on your land. Check your water provider and council for details.

If you are living on council land, the cost of the leak and the cost of the repair may not fall solely on your shoulders, since the water supply will be shared. As such, the cost may be shared.  Check with your water provider and council for details.