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Leak Detection Made Easy: How to Find Leaks Under Your House Without Digging
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Leak Detection Made Easy: How to Find Leaks Under Your House Without Digging

May 20, 2024

Discover how to detect leaks under your house without digging. Protect your home’s structural integrity with these easy, cost-saving methods and prevent serious damage.

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Worried that you may have a leak at home? It’s always important to stay vigilant and get to the bottom of the issue. Although calling a licensed plumber is generally the best course of action, there are ways to uncover the leak yourself.

In fact, you may even be able to detect leaks under your house without digging! Remember, untreated leaks can pose a severe threat to your home’s structural integrity, leading to problems ranging from mould growth to significant structural damage.

As long as it’s safe and won’t cause any further damage, the methods we’ll detail below could save you serious time, money, and stress. Let’s get right into it.

The Hidden Dangers of Leaks

Leaks under your house are not just an inconvenience; they can be very dangerous, problematic or costly. Water leaks can lead to structural damage as the moisture seeps into the foundation and cause it to weaken over time. 

In certain circumstances, leaks result in mould growth, a health hazard that can lead to respiratory issues and other health problems. Gas leaks, on the other hand, carry the risk of fire or explosion and carbon monoxide poisoning. The quick detection and remediation of these leaks are essential to maintaining a safe and healthy home.

Understanding the Different Types of Leaks

Water leaks and gas leaks are the most common types of leaks that occur under a house. Water leaks often result from damaged pipes or poor drainage, while gas leaks typically occur due to faulty gas lines. Fortunately, both types of leaks can be identified by certain signs. 

Water leaks, though common, are often elusive. They’ll usually manifest as unexpected spikes in your water bill, damp spots on floors, walls, or ceilings, or a sudden decrease in water pressure. These leaks, if left untreated, lead to everything from structural damage to mould growth and wasted resources. 

On the flip side, a gas leak, while less common, poses a more immediate danger. A distinctive smell, similar to rotten eggs, is often the first indicator of a potential gas leak. Other signs might include a hissing sound near the gas line or even dying vegetation in your yard, as the escaping gas kills plants.

No-Dig Leak Detection Methods

Fortunately, there are several non-invasive methods to detect leaks under your house. Leak detection equipment like acoustic leak detectors, thermal imaging cameras, and ground penetrating radar devices can also be used to find leaks without digging. 

Acoustic leak detectors vary significantly in size and scope, but there are some basic models available for less than $200. Leak detection kits also vary a lot in terms of their capacity and scope. In fact, there are more sophisticated kits available, however they generally cost thousands of dollars. 

Acoustic detectors pick up the sound of water escaping from a pipe, thermal imaging cameras help to identify temperature differences caused by water leaks, and ground penetrating radar devices help to detect irregularities under the surface that may indicate a leak. Each method has its own step-by-step process which can be easily followed by homeowners.

Prefer to leave it to the professionals? MCN is your number one source for an expert plumber in Melbourne. Contact us now to connect with a friendly team member.

Leak Detection

DIY or Call in a Plumber? Here’s How to Make the Right Choice

While some homeowners may feel comfortable using these leak detection methods themselves, others may prefer to call in a professional. The choice between DIY leak detection and professional services often comes down to the severity of the leak, the homeowner’s experience level, and the potential costs involved. 

Here is a general rule to follow; if the leak is severe or you are inexperienced, it’s always best to call in a professional plumber.

Causes of Underground Water Leaks

Tree Roots

As trees grow, their roots naturally seek out water sources, and pipelines provide a readily available supply. Even the smallest pinhole in water pipes has the ability to attract roots. Over time, these roots infiltrate the pipeline, expanding the holes and causing significant leaks. 

Tree roots are known to cause a variety of different plumbing issues, including reduced water pressure and severe damage to the pipeline infrastructure. Regular inspections and proactive root management are two great ways to mitigate the risks posed.


Corrosion is another significant factor that contributes to underground water leaks. Pipes, especially those made of copper, can corrode due to various reasons, such as imbalanced pH levels in the water, oxidation, high water velocity, and the use of harsh drain cleaning chemicals. Corroded pipes become brittle and are more prone to developing leaks or bursting under pressure.

While corrosion affects both new and old pipes, older systems are particularly vulnerable due to years of wear and tear. Regular maintenance and monitoring of water quality, therefore, helps to prevent corrosion-related leaks.

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Environmental Factors

Ground movement caused by natural events such as earthquakes, soil erosion, or construction activities can stress and eventually rupture pipes. 

Temperature fluctuations also cause pipes to expand and contract, which then leads to cracks and leaks. When other obstructions, such as rocks or heavy debris, press against pipes then create weak spots that inevitably leak. Understanding and mitigating these environmental impacts through proper installation techniques and regular inspections can help protect your plumbing system.

Signs of an Underground Leak

Water Meter Test

A water meter test is one of the simple yet effective ways to detect an underground water leak without calling in professionals. In order to perform this test, make sure that all water appliances and fixtures across your property are turned off. Then, observe the water meter. 

If the meter continues to register water flow, it is highly likely there is a leak somewhere in the system. This method provides a quick indication of a leak so that you can then take further steps to identify and repair the issue before it gets any worse.

Low Water Pressure

A sudden or gradual drop in water pressure is often a clear indicator of an underground leak. When there is a leak in the pipeline, water escapes before reaching the intended fixtures, which then reduces pressure throughout the plumbing network. 

If you notice a significant decrease in water pressure in one or more fixtures, it might indicate a localised issue. However, if the pressure drop affects the entire property, it is more likely due to a substantial underground leak. Addressing this promptly can prevent further damage and restore normal water pressure.

Higher Water Bills

An unexplained spike in water bills is another telltale sign of an underground leak. Most households have relatively consistent water usage patterns, so a sudden increase in water consumption, without any corresponding increase in activity, suggests a hidden leak. 

If unaddressed, hundreds of litres of water may be wasted, leaving you with exorbitant water bills. This is why it’s so important to monitor your water usage and bills. Ultimately, this will allow you to stay on top of any unusual patterns early and let you know when it’s time to call the plumbers in.

Pools of Water

Water pooling on your property is a visible sign of a potentially serious underground leak. Here, you should keep a close eye on puddles, muddy patches, and areas of lush, green grass in otherwise dry conditions.

These signs are not only inconvenient but also often lead to more serious structural issues if not addressed promptly. Identifying the source of the water pooling can help locate the leak, and taking immediate action prevents further damage to your property’s foundation and surrounding landscaping.

Water Leakage On Wood Floor

Choosing a Reliable Plumber

When it comes to choosing a plumber in Melbourne, experience, qualifications, and customer reviews are always key factors to consider. A reputable plumber will have the necessary training and licensing to handle leak detection and repair, and positive customer reviews can provide assurance of their reliability and quality of service.

Whether you need a reliable plumber in Brighton or Berwick, we use the best equipment available to provide a comprehensive and cost-effective service for any and all leaking pipes our customers are dealing with. No matter how small or large the leak may be, you can count on MCN Plumbing to get the job done correctly.

Preventing Future Leaks

Preventing leaks under your house is just as important as detecting them. Regular inspections, proper maintenance of your plumbing system, and the use of quality materials can all help to prevent future leaks. 

Checking for signs of leaks and addressing any issues as soon as they arise can also be effective in preventing serious damage.

Leak Detection – FAQs

Q: How often should I check for leaks in my house?

A: It’s recommended to check for leaks at least once a year. However, if you notice any signs of a leak, such as a high water or gas bill, damp spots, or a smell of gas, you should check immediately.

Q: What are the most common signs of a leak?

A: Common signs of a leak include an unusually high water or gas bill, damp spots on floors, a smell of gas, or the sound of running water when all faucets are turned off.

Q: How much does professional leak detection cost?

A: The cost of professional leak detection can vary depending on the severity of the leak and the methods used to detect it. It’s best to get a quote from a reputable plumber in your area.

Q: Can I use a leak detection kit from a hardware store?

A: Yes, leak detection kits can be a cost-effective way to check for leaks yourself. However, they may not be as accurate or comprehensive as professional services. If you suspect a severe leak, it’s best to call a professional.

Contact Us Today
Quality Plumbing Services Await You!
Facing a plumbing problem? Our skilled team is ready to assist! From leak repairs to pipe installations, trust our expertise for a seamless solution.

Need Help with Leaking Pipes? Reach Out to MCN Plumbing

Whether you’ve detected a leak already or simply want to play it safe, the MCN Plumbing team is never more than a phone call away. We specialise in burst and leaking pipes, as well as a wide range of specialised plumbing services.
We offer same-day services with no call-out fees, workmanship guarantees, and upfront pricing for your peace of mind. Whenever you’re on the lookout for a plumber in Melbourne, MCN is the only name to remember. Contact us today and get the expert assistance you need!

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