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Determining A Leak

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Prudie | 20:41 Fri 19th Apr 2024 | Home & Garden
16 Answers

How would one know if there was a water leak under a concrete ground floor without waiting for the next water bill with usage and more to the point how would a capable plumber check for it and fix it?



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Sorry for the mix-up Prudie. I guess it's probably because I would associate your problems with a 70s house. For a '99 build it's unforgivable. (Roof)tan colds went out decades ago. It sounds as though the builder did his own plumbing.Re: your hot tap being cold in the morning. Depending on its distance from the hot tank, there will be a run-off time for...
14:38 Sat 20th Apr 2024

Detection might well depend on how much water's escaping. If it's a drip that's problematic, if it's gushing a stethoscope or similar might confirm it.

If you turn your water tap off does it stop?

If you suspect a mains water leak, you can contact your water supplier who will send out an inspector. He/she can "listen" for any leak and locate it's approximate position.

If a leak is found on your property, it's your responsibility to get it repaired (which would involve some excavation in your case!)

The initial water company visit would be free (unless they've recently changed policy on leak detection).

Oh...if there's lots of water, they can take a sample and identify it as either mains or other (ground water for example)

Ensure that all of the taps in your house are turned off (along with anything else which might be using water). 

Lift the cover over your water meter. 

The black 'spoked' wheel should be stationary (indicating that there's no water flowing through the meter):

If it's rotating, then there must be a leak somewhere.

Question Author

Yes we're thinking Chris's suggestion is what we need to do first.

I assume a pipe under/in the foundations of a house could leak into the ground for years without being noticed? Water damage doesn't move in a upward direction does it?

If it's leaking very slowly, the wheel might move so slowly that you won't notice it moving.

Try taking the meter reading and then come back a few hours later and recheck it ..... making sure to not use any of the taps etc .... so get that kettle topped for your brews  :)

turn off the water at the stop cock. Run the tap until it goes dry. Then go outside to the water meter and lift the cover. If theylittle wheel thing is turning then you have a leak between the meter and the stop cock. I had this very thing over Xmas.

I don't think everyone has a water meter - I certainly didn't until I signed up for one.

If I remember, Prudie, you have a 70s semi?

What makes you suspect a leak?  Visible evidence?

////  I don't think everyone has a water meter ////


I'm assuming Prudie has a water meter, as their original post states:

//// .... waiting for the next water bill with usage  ....  ////

Question Author

We have a water meter and maybe mixing me me up with someone else The Builder, no worries, it's a 99 detached but what I have mentioned before we have a paid for a lot of work (thousands) to refurb two bathrooms last summer and have had nothing but problems since. Various reasons. Part of the work included changing from a 1.5 to 3 bar shower pump, all hot throughout the house connected to the pump supply and all upstairs basins/loos/showers etc changed to mains supply rather than loft tank (which is still there). The increased pressure on what we were told was shoddy original pipwork has already caused a pipe to pop and ruin a kitchen ceiling. Standard boiler.

The current worry is we go to bed and the hot water in the tap is hot and in the morning it's stone cold. Plus there is a spot in our utility room where you stand in bare feet in the morning and the floor is very warm even though the heating hasn't been on. It's all been an expensive ongoing nightmare.

Sorry for the mix-up Prudie. I guess it's probably because I would associate your problems with a 70s house. For a '99 build it's unforgivable. 

(Roof)tank-fed colds went out decades ago. It sounds as though the builder did his own plumbing.

Re: your hot tap being cold in the morning. Depending on its distance from the hot tank, there will be a run-off time for the hot water to actually reach the tap. It does eventually get there, doesn't it? We talked about this in your previous thread. Because of poor layout planning, it may well have a tortuous route to get there.

Re: the warm floor spot. Obviously it can only come from the hot water pipework or the Heating. Neither of which could occur overnight with no heating programmed, and no draw on the hot supply. That's a mystery right there.

So, tracing is needed to see exactly what lies under the Utility floor. There are serious systems available using infra-red/acoustic equipment and others. But here we firstly need to be rid of the cretins currently involved.

Using someone sensible, one approach would be to isolate whatever runs under the warm spot. Disconnect the pipework at both ends, blank one end, and fit a simple hand-operated pressure testing pump (with gauge) at the other end, pump it up, and watch the pressure gauge.

I'm running blind here, Prudie, without knowing the exact layout. I know you have stuck with the cowboys because they have failed completely and in effect, owe you money. But... I do think the time has come to get a 'proper' team in. I know what they'll say. They'll spot so many 'faults' they may even suggest starting again from scratch.

That should not be necessary. With the right analysis and a bit of re-jigging, This can all be rectified.

Anyway, I hope I've at least answered you Q about testing. Tracing comes first.

Question Author

Well I just wish you were here with me the Builder and thank you for your extensive reply which I will relate to OH. On a quick note the hot water is stored in a cylinder upstairs and the basin taps that are cold in the morning (both bathrooms, whole house in effect) are either side of it not a metre away.

What may horrify you is these are not on the cheap cowboy plumbers/builders/tilers/painters (in theory) that have done all this work, they are the workmen franchised by the extremely flashy and well established but expensive bathroom showroom in my local town that we used..

Basin taps only 1 metre away.................  yes, poor layout.

Had a quick Google............

Grove Trading Estate.......... begins with a 'P'

Purport to be 'inspired'  ???

Mmmmmm. Can't say any more............  libel laws  🤔

Question Author

Neither can I haha :-):-)

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