A pipe leak is always a serious problem since water can cause so much damage to your home. If you can't stop the flow of water, then you have a plumbing emergency on your hands. You should know where every shut-off valve is in your home so you can stop the water if a pipe bursts. If you can't turn off the water due to a bad or stuck valve, then call an emergency plumbing service right away.
The immediate goal is to stop the water and get your house dried out so plumbing repairs can be done. Here's how a plumber can find a hidden plumbing leak and some options they might discuss for repairing the pipe.
How to Find a Hidden Plumbing Leak
You might know exactly where a pipe bursts if you can see water spewing out. Since pipes are usually under the floor, underground, or behind walls, you may not know where the leak is located. If the leak is small and has been going on for a while, the area near the leak might smell musty and you might see water stains on the walls. One potential problem is that water can roll from the leak and puddle somewhere else, and that makes it difficult to pinpoint the damaged area.
Your plumber can use more precise tools to find the leak. An infrared camera can show a leak behind a wall, and it also shows the area of water damage so you can see where the water spread. The plumber might also use a sound device to listen for a leak along your floor or over the ground. When the device is right over the leak, the sound is different than when the device is some distance away. Plumbers also use pipe cameras to look inside pipes and follow them to the source of the leak.
How Professionals Will Deal With a Leaky Pipe
The options a plumber has for repairing a pipe depend on the material the pipe is made from and how badly the pipe is damaged. The age of the pipe matters too, since replacing an old pipe might be a better option than making repairs.
It might be possible to patch a pipe with a hole in it. This might be done by cutting out the damaged area and putting in a new piece of pipe by soldering or adding new connections. The plumber might also use pipe clamps to block the leak. However, the plumber wants the repairs to be permanent, so covering a small leak with tape is probably not an option unless it is for a temporary repair until a service call can be scheduled for later.
Replacing a pipe might be recommended if the pipe is old and has several small pinholes in it from corrosion. However, another option might be to pull a liner through the pipe. The liner might cover the entire length of the pipe, or it might just patch the area with a hole. Liners are safe for pipes that carry drinking water, and they might be an option your plumber considers.
A pipe that cracks and bursts because it is old and corroded might need to be replaced. Also, the plumber might check a few other pipes because if one is bad, others might be bad too. In that case, you might want to repipe your home so you can avoid another plumbing emergency and restoring the water damage it causes.