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2024 Water Leak Detection Service In Seattle And Repair or Replacement.

So you suspect you have a water leak in your main line, maybe the water department called and told you or maybe you just got the water bill and it's higher than normal what are the first steps?

  1. Notify the water department you pay your bill to, if they notified you then this step is done. It's important because after the leak is fixed most will forgive all or a portion of the high bill.

  2. Locate the main water valve in your home and slowly turn it off.

  3. Now go read the meter (view it with the lid off) Some are digital and some have dials look to see if they are moving usually it is real easy to tell as there should be no movement or usage because the main valve has been closed.

  4. If there is no movement then the leak may be on the city side of the system and you need them to come out. If there was movement you probably need to repair or replace the main waterline.

Well repair or replace the main water line is a big difference how do you make that decision? Find out about how old the home is, then and this part is a little harder you need to try and find out what the waterline is made out of. If your lucky you can go into the basement or garage where the main shut off valve is and see the pipe going out of the home. The material the pipe is made out of and age go a long way to making the repair or replace decision without spending money on services you do not need. An example is if the pipe is metal then it's probably galvanized and is over 60 years old and a repair is not really even possible because the pipe is rusted on the outside from having been in the ground so long and it no longer looks like pipe but more like the bottom of a ship that has been at sea for 50 years with barnacles all over it and there is no good spot to make a good repair not to mention it has good odds that another leak will occur in the near future. Most pipes have a 50 year warranty max anyway. OK another example is maybe the pipe is a black colored plastic that is usually a cheap water pipe called black poly and it is a good pipe to about 20-30 years again how old is the house? Black poly once it starts leaking will just continue to have leaks I have repaired it in a spot only to have another new leak start when the water is turned on! But usually a person may go a year or so before another leak starts so if money is tight a repair may buy you some time to budget for a line replacement in the future. Example 3 if the line is made of copper then you have a good chance it can be repaired without having to replace the whole water mainline. Sometimes the pipe has sat on a rock and it has rubbed a hole in the pipe so those can be fixed. 4th Example is a blue plastic pipe which is called blue poly! If you have blue poly it was a recalled pipe that law suits where filed over and there is no money left in the fund to be paid out you are stuck with it. 5th example you might see white plastic hard pipe called PVC and that is another pipe like copper that can do repairs on most of the time. So some of the pipes like copper or PVC you can repair so now we need to find the leak. If you have the other pipes you probably need replacement of the line and calling in for leak detection is probably a waste of time and money because you need a new line and better to call in for trenchless or traditional water main replacement.

  1. Copper pipe or PVC call for a leak detection service unless the spot is already detected where the leak is maybe at the surface.

  2. Black poly or Blue poly or Galvanized it's time to call in for trenchless or traditional excavation for a new water line.

Leak detection costs vary based on what is needed to find the leak meaning the method or time to do so. The first thing is to find the true path of the line so that the leak can be found without going over every square inch of the yard. If the line is metal or copper tracing the lines location is very easy with modern day utility locators they show the path and depth of the pipe. If the line is not metal or copper it had better have a tracer wire buried with it for the sole purpose of tracing a non traceable line. Tracing wire is now common with all gas and new water lines but was not common practice over 15 years ago. There are ways to find plastic utility lines though but it cost extra most of the time because the equipment is expensive and requires extra labor to do it. 1 is ground penetrating radar or GPR for short, it bounces radar waves into the ground and they bounce back when the plastic pipe is encountered some states have lots of clay and GPR does not work but lucky for us in the Seattle area we have some of the best soil conditions for GPR so it is a good option. (yes we have it) Another way is to insert a metal rod in the plastic pipe and tracing it with the same locator used for metal or copper pipe but you have to usually dig a hole by the water meter area to gain an access point to put the rodder in the pipe and that takes digging and the water must be shut off. Now that we know where the pipe is located a simple acoustic listening device is walked over the pipe to listen for mainline water leaks, large leaks are usually pretty easy to find but smaller leaks especially if they are on the bottom side of the pipe are sometimes impossible to locate so then you have to go to another step and add air into the line that is pressurized so that a louder bubbling noise is made to find the leak. If even that is not successful then it's time to inject helium gas into the line and use a special helium leak detector device (yes we have that also) to find the stubborn water leak. So as you can see there are a lot of steps that may be needed to just find a leak for repair and then with each step the price and costs come into play. Some steps like locating the line can be skipped to save money if it appears pretty positive where the line is based on the layout. So there are some things the owner can do and some things a contractor can do to come to a logical repair or replacement strategy you need the right tools and the right ideas.

We offer the most up todate utility and leak detection methods in the industry:

1. FCS X-Mic system that can find the smallest plastic pipe leaks.

2. FCS Leak Corrolation that can do miles of pipe or 50 feet of detection. 2 sensors are placed at the ends of the pipe and a computer finds the area of the leak, we then pinpoint the exact area using sound.

3. Helium Leak injection into the pipe system, then a very special helium sniffer is used to pinpoint the leak location. This is used when other methods fail it takes longer to set up but is the best method there is for plastic pipes And pipes under cement slabs.

4. GPR Ground Penetrating Radar system, Noggin 250 and 1000 to find plastic pipes without property damage. Besides finding the pipe it can show large voids and water build up under the surface.

5. The smallest Sondes sold to be pushed up water lines when there are other utilities buried in the same location to determine the waterlines exact location.

6. Spar 300 Dual locating system can find lines up to 40 feet deep and does not need to be placed directly over the line, this is needed when there is something on the surface that prevents being directly over the utility like water, patios etc.

7. Flir E60 Thermal Imaging for heated pipes and water detection in walls and under slabs.

8. Pipe inspection cameras for lines as small as 3/4" with recording and sondes for locating the exact spot needed.

9. GPS GNSS systems by Trimble for recording a utility lines location for future work or mapping purposes. We use real systems that can be as accurate as a 1/4" in open sky conditions.

10. With most of the 1980's and 90's Plastic pipes now failing we have Ground Penetrating Radar GPR to find them this is a big help in 2024 Seattle!

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