How to determine if water is seeping away.


Say, one fine day you come home and you see your water bill has shot up by 500%. Your first suspicion will be there is a leakage somewhere. You suspected right. There is a leakage and it’s a bad leakage.

Houses, especially terraced houses built about 3 or 4 years ago and anything before that uses galvanised pipes as the main distribution pipe from the meter to the whole household. It was only in recent years that Water Department changed their rules to allow polyethylene pipes as their main distribution pipe. Recently the department insisted on stainless steel pipes as the leakage problem has caused the Department lots of losses in revenue. Then with the spiralling cost of steel products they relaxed the ruling a bit and allowed ABS pipes too. These changes is all for the better as the water department saves considerably on wastage and the house owner can rest assured they wont have a leaking pipe buried in their garden.

However houses built before these rulings are still affected by frequent leaks. I remember when I was in the plumbing line about 20 years ago, galvanised pipes back then were of real good quality and can easily last 10 to 15 years without any problem other than getting clogged up with rust. Qualities of these pipes have deteriorated so badly that you will be lucky if the galvanised pipes you buy nowadays last you one year.

So what do you do to determine if there is a leak when you can’t see physically where the leak is? The best bet is the leaks is happening somewhere underground or under your house foundation. When they start building a house in a housing estate, the incoming pipes are placed in well before the foundation of your house are laid. This saves the plumber the trouble of having to chip and hack the foundation to accommodate the pipes. When your house is completed you will have a pipe running under your house, and if that leaks, there is no way you are going to know until you receive your water bill.

How to check and confirm if there is a leak.

It’s easy to confirm a leak. Turn off each and every water outlet there is within your house. Including the supply line that goes to your water storage tank on your roof. After making sure that there is no water running anywhere, stand beside your meter and observe. See if the meter moves and increases in reading. If it does, you can definitely confirm that there is a leak somewhere. It does not matter now where the leak is, you will have to replace the whole incoming main supply pipe. That, I think would best be done by a qualified plumber

What if I have a faulty meter that does not work?

Well, then your bills won’t be running sky high would it? If you are the honest type, report the fault to the Water Department and have your meters replaced, but most of the people I know just ignore the problem and pretend that they don’t know.