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Do you suspect you have an underground leak in your property’s plumbing system in Australia? An underground leak could result in a lot of water damage and loss on your property if not dealt with. Therefore, when you detect a water leak underground, you should reach out to an expert plumber near your locality ASAP and have it repaired.

Knowing how to detect the leak is undoubtedly the most critical step, as it allows for timely repairs before severe and irreparable water damage is done. This article looks at the major causes and how to find an underground water leak.

Causes Of Underground Water Leaks

An underground water leak could occur without your expectations. Such a leak typically starts slowly, and you might only discover it when it has already escalated. So, what are the causes of underground water leaks? Read on to find out!

Chemicals in the soil

Chemicals present in the soil or water could result in the erosion of underground pipes, which then causes holes or cracks in your pipes. The holes and cracks then allow water to flow out of the pipes, leading to underground leaks. The water damage from this kind of leak manifests slowly. As a result, detecting underground water leaks promptly can take a lot of work.

Natural disasters

Natural disasters such as tremors or earthquakes could exert pressure on your underground water pipes. The pressure then results in splits or cracks in the pipes, which can cause underground water leaking.

Gradual wear and tear

It goes without saying that with time, your water pipes start deteriorating. If you have old pipework, there are high risks of the system getting rusty, leading to pipe leaks. Therefore, it is advisable to have your old pipework inspected for corrosion so that you can replace any deteriorated pipes before they are compromised.

Incorrect installation or use of low-quality fixtures

Incorrect installation of pipes by unqualified plumbers is one of the significant causes of water leaking underground in many residential and commercial properties in Australia. If the pipes are poorly installed, they will likely be compromised quickly, leading to water leaks. Additionally, sketchy plumbers might use low-quality fixtures during installation, making them highly susceptible to water leaks.

Roots from surrounding trees

Tree roots could also lead to cracked water pipes, which, in turn, results in underground water leaks. This happens when the roots from nearby trees extend to your plumbing system and penetrate the pipes in search of water.

Therefore, it’s crucial to undertake regular inspections to check for tree roots growing in your plumbing system. If you come across any, remove them immediately because they could cause severe damage to your plumbing system.

How To Detect Underground Water Leaks

Here are some of the top methods to detect an underground water leak in your residential or commercial property in Australia.

Check your meter or water bill for unusual activity

One of the ways to check whether you have an underground water leak in your property is to have a closer look at your water bill. If your account rises dramatically yet your household’s water consumption is still the same, the chances are water loss is taking place elsewhere. If you cannot find a leak around the property, chances are high that there is an underground water leak.

If you have a water meter, you could use it to determine if there is an underground water leak on your property. In the event of such a leak, the meter runs faster than usual. To confirm this, turn off all your water appliances, and if the meter is still running, this could point to an underground water leak somewhere. You could also confirm a leak by checking for a drop in water pressure when no other appliance is running.

Check for cracked foundations and pavements

Most water pipes are located a few inches underground. A cracked pavement or unusual bulge on a sidewalk could be a sign of a water leak underground. In this case, a warped, clogged, or broken water pipe will leak, making the ground warp. The best action to take is to contact an expert to inspect the walkways or driveways to find the exact location of the leak and then undertake repairs.

Look for soggy or wet spots on the ground

Check for soggy or wet spots on the ground, especially near water fixtures or pipes. If you notice that a particular part of the ground is constantly wet despite the weather, there might be an underground leak on your property.

You could also check for damp places on the basement floors, around the water heater, or the foundation. If you find water spots on your basement floor, you might have a slab leak that occurs under the concrete slab foundation.

In both cases, if there is a wet spot, you should determine the shape and size of the area. This helps determine the source of the leak.

Inspect your irrigation system

Underground leaks could also occur in your irrigation system. Therefore, it is advisable to undertake regular inspections of your irrigation system’s underground pipes for leaks. This is important as a small leak could affect your water use and lead to a lot of water wastage.

While inspecting, check the ground around the sprinklers for soggy or wet spots. If you find any signs of leaks, have them repaired immediately. Inspecting your irrigation system for leaks at the start of each season is also advisable.

Use a water leak detector or a metal detector

If you suspect an underground water leak, you could use a metal detector or water leak detector to determine its location. This device detects the presence of underground metal objects. It helps identify the leak source in the metal pipe. Using the leak detector to identify a leaking pipe can be a tedious and slow process, but helpful in detecting the exact location of the leak.

Irregular lawn growth

Your environment also plays an essential role in telling you more about what is happening in your home. If you find increased vegetation in areas where you don’t have water, it shows there is a supply of water in that part, which might result from an underground leak. For instance, you might find plants or grass growing above a leaky pipe or grass around a downspout from a gutter.

Dirt or air in the water

A broken pipe could cause sediment, dirt, and air to get into your plumbing system leading to dirty water flowing from your taps. If you haven’t had any recent plumbing work done in your home, the presence of sediment or air in your water pipe might signify an underground water leak. Therefore, you should take immediate action before the pipe bursts causing more water loss and severe water damage to your property.

High-Tech Underground Water Leak Detection

You could also use the latest technology to find underground water leaks on your property. These methods are more effective because they allow the detection of leaks in underground pipes without having to dig them up.

Professional plumbers apply these methods to help detect and fix underground water leaks quickly and efficiently. Some of the high-tech underground water leak detection methods that could be used include:

Thermal imaging

This leak detection method is one of the most sophisticated techniques used to detect underground water leaks. Thermal imaging involves the application of a camera to determine the location of the pipes buried in the building.

It reveals differences in surface temperatures and identifies all the leaks in the underground pipes. It’s a quick and more reliable way to find leaks in some of your property’s most hidden water lines.

Acoustic leak detection

This technique is undertaken using ultra-sensitive microphones, which are used to listen for sounds emanating from leaks from compromised water pipes.

Leak noise correlation

This next high-tech method involves using strong electronic devices to identify water leaks on pressured pipes. It helps detect water leaks whose location is unknown, as is the case with underground leaks.

In this technique, two sensors are positioned in contact with both sides of the pipe you suspect is leaking. The sounds are recorded and moved to a radio processing unit. The unit applies mathematical algorithms to spot the exact location of the leak.

Expert Underground Water Leak Detection Services

If you need expert help detecting an underground water leak, you should work with the best plumbing contractor in Australia. A professional plumber is equipped with special equipment that can pinpoint even the most minor or most hidden underground leak in your property.

You could also have them perform preventative drain cleaning and other services to help maintain your plumbing system and prevent water leaks. Ensure you get a trustworthy plumber with vast experience in the field and a good reputation for offering high-quality plumbing services.


Our Customers

Christopher Chow

I called Hero Plumbing to unblock a shower drain and was unable to get a quote over the phone, but Sam the owner was here same day. After his first try, he made quick work of the blockage. I opted to also get the acid cleaner stuff poured down. Sam had run out, but made a trip to go pick some up to finish the job. If you opt for this treatment make sure you can easily air the bathroom as it’s extremely strong and produces a lot of fumes. Great Service and Honest Pricing.

Sarah Lincon

Hero Plumbing has been excellent since there first phone call.
I spoke to a gentlemen names Sam which he organised a technician to come and replace our hot water heater.
The technician was excellent called me 30mins before arrival explained the whole job to me and gave me an upfront price.
Excellent work Hero team.
We are a Hero member now and always look forward to working with them.

Jared Evans

We've used Hero Plumbing previously. Both times reliable and flexible with changing times (helpful during covid ISO periods!)
Hayden was on time and explained the issue clearly, fixed it,then also did some extra checks on water pressure and taps to ensure there were no underlying issues.
Would recommend their services.

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Hero Plumbing has been our go to plumber for years.

They replaced our hot water system with excellent workmanship, professionalism and in a timely manner - as always!

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Brilliant service from the first phone call to Hero Plumbing as Sam the manager booked us in very efficiently. I received a confirmation  email, a phone call on approach and all went smoothly & work conducted was beautiful . The team did a great job even dig up on our sewer and cut concrete & repaired the issue and our sewer is running like a dream.
Thanks for your great efforts guys!


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I knew Sam when he was working alone. And from the first time I was pleasantly surprised by his work. A little later I found out that he has his own business. I am very happy about that. And I am very glad for myself that I have such a company that I can always rely on.

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