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Drip, Drip...Flood? How Plumbing Leaks Go Undetected And Why You Need To Detect Them Sooner

by Feride Halma

Right about now, you may be laughing -- after all, a plumbing leak is obvious, right? The faucet drips non-stop, or the pipes under the sink make everything just a little bit wetter. Maybe there is a little water in the basement. What exactly would be the big deal about plumbing leak detection, and why would you need to detect such things sooner? Actually, you might be surprised by the answers to this very question.

It Is All About the Leaks You CANNOT See

Detecting a plumbing leak is not about the leaks you have and the leaks you can see -- it is about the leaks you do not know you have and the leaks you cannot see. For example, if you have several pipes inside a wall that travel down to the basement, and that wall is obstructed by cabinets or other features in your home, there is really no way for you to know that these pipes are leaking.

A plumber can find those leaks by touching the wall for cold spots, or sending a scope up and down drains to see if there are leaks. When cabinets are in the way, nothing short of a plumber's video scope is going to spot the leaks. Without finding leaks, you cannot fix them, and without fixing them, you run the risk of hundreds to thousands of dollars of water damage.

Why You Need to Detect Them Sooner

Water damage is the biggest reason to detect plumbing leaks early. Pipes with slow leaks are one thing, and the damage will take time to build up. However, pipes with holes and more extreme leaks will rot your walls, cabinets, floors, and even everything that exists in the basement spaces below. If a crawlspace is close to the leaking and/or damaged pipes, then the crawlspace is in for a lot of water damage as well. 

Old pipes are the most guilty of extreme water damage. If you bought a home that is older than fifty years, and there does not seem to be any record available as to when the pipes were last replaced, you should have a plumber scope out the pipes throughout the house and perform scans of walls where pipes exist to see if there are any signs of leaks. It is best to catch these leaks now and replace the pipes than to find out a few years from now, when the pipes have burst forth and rotted out all the wood, drywall, and plaster around them.