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Leak Detection

Hello everyone it’s Richard at Plumbdog here.

I’m out of the property in Baldivis, Western Australia and I’m in a customer’s bathroom. He has lived here about a year and since he’s moved in he’s noticed all sorts of issues with the moisture around the shower. 

You can see behind me there’s moisture coming through somewhere behind the shower screen here sort of adjacent to the shower taps. 

The shower outlet is up there. So, about a year ago he had the shower regrouted because it was noticeably poor with the grout, so the grout guys came and sort of ripped that out and revamped it but he’s still got moisture problems. The client said he had a plumber out last week who looked at the taps and resurfaced them and just sort of put them back and couldn’t really explain too much so he’s got us out for leak detection.

The first thing I want to do is test the water meter at the water main coming in and I just want to look at the small needle on here and see if there’s any movement so I’m doing a five minute test and see if that needle moves at all.

During a test on the water meter here, I noticed that the needle is moving but it’s moving really really slowly and it’s losing about one litre every four to five minutes, so there is a leak on the main but because that’s inside and it’s just showing signs of sort of damp and moisture inside,  I’m pretty sure there’s not a litre of water lost every four to five minutes inside the house because as you can expect it’d be a swimming pool in there so there is a leak on here somewhere but I don’t think that’s it, so what I’m going to do is, I can see that the reticulation connection is just there, the master valve and the master solenoid. I’m just going to isolate them and then just re-test just to see if that makes any difference.

I’m retesting now and now I’ve isolated the retic and there’s no movement, no movement whatsoever over five minutes so we’re not losing any water which is a good sign but I was hoping to find a little bit of loss somewhere because we know that there’s signs of moisture inside so if it’s not on the water main then it’s not anywhere in the pipe work to the taps.

The next thing to do is to test from the taps to the shower rose because that’s the next place where there could be leaks so we’re going to do a pressure test but the water meters are no longer moving when nothing’s been used in the house. Behind the shower here in the bedroom cupboard you can see the plaster is really flaky directly behind the shower taps. I’m removing the shower rose so that we can get the threaded outlet there in order to test using the pressure gauge.

I’m tightening on the flexi hose to the pressure gauge there, just making it watertight in order for us to test. I opened up the taps in no particular order, a hot one first in this case. Once they’re opened and pressurised close them back up so now we’ll perform a test between the shower taps and the outlet. I’m carrying out this test over five minutes to make sure there’s no drop and in this case there is no drop so there is no leak between the taps and the shower outlet.

I’m just turning off the water main opening the taps back up and leaving them open, observing the pressure and now over five minutes we are testing all the way back from the shower rose, all the way back to the main stop tap. Again, there is no pressure loss detected so there is no leak on the main supply pipe all the way back to the meter. We’ll just open up the main again so the water’s back on. The test is completed so I remove the pressure gauge and release the pressure there,  using thread tape on the thread there and then reattaching the shower rose.

It’s important here, once it’s back on to test for leaks because if there’s any leaks guess where it’s going to go? It’s going to go behind the tiles and make the situation worse. Okay, so the silicon around the spindles there, this should have been done by the previous plumber because when the shower is in use the water can get behind those flanges and behind the tiles. I’m also spraying with soapy water to get rid of that excess silicon and wipe away and as you can see my spray bottle has seen better days – time for a new one.

So that’s my test complete. I’ve done the main test on the meter, got a pressure test on  the shower breach, and I’ve checked the taps. They were previously serviced last week. I think that plumber has actually solved the issue. I think the taps were leaking and they are quite old and I would’ve recommended replacing them so he has serviced them and put them all back together.

I do think that solved the problem but as you saw he hadn’t actually siliconed around the spindles there so with the shower in use, water would have got behind there and made the problem just as bad again. so that’s been done. Some recommendations to the client, or what I think he should do, I think they need to peel off some of that plaster get back to the brick and let it dry and it should dry before they sort of spend any more money on regrouting and what have you and then they can give us a shout if they’ve got continual problems but there’s no leaks on the water main with the retic isolated,  there’s no leaks on the pipe work between the taps and the shower rose, so that’s all good.

 

The grouting and ceiling looks good so I think he’s good to go.  I think the problem has been solved. Thank you for watching – I hope you learned something and we look forward to seeing you on the next video.

Take care guys, see you later!

Hot Water System

Is your hot water system going hot and cold and making you think there’s a fault with your hot water system? Well, watch this video first and you might be able to save yourself some time and money.

Hi everyone. It’s Richard from Plumbdog here. I’m at a property in West Perth, Western Australia. The owner is meeting me on site and she said that the tenant has reported that he thinks there’s a fault with the hot water system because the hot water goes really hot and really cold, and he can’t quite figure it out. So I’ve come out to the property. The tenant’s not home, so it just gives me a little bit of space to work out what’s going on. I’m actually in the ensuite at the moment.

I’ve got the hot water system behind us. In this case it’s an electric continuous flow system and it’s actually one of the new style ones that we recommend. It’s a Stiebel Eltron LCD version and we recommend these all the time. Strangely enough, just recently I’ve been talking to a couple of plumber mates of mine, saying that I’m yet to come across a fault on one, and then lo and behold, a couple of weeks later, there’s a potential fault right behind me.

So we’ll work out what’s going on. It makes it a little bit more interesting on this job because the tenant’s actually a plumber himself, and he hasn’t been able to figure it out yet. So the pressure’s on to work out what’s going on and get the hot water back.

The first thing i’m going to do – you want to see I’ve got my temperature probe ready to go here- is to just want to check the temperature of the system. Is it hot, cold, is it lukewarm? So I’m just going to test it on one of these basin taps just to start with. Let’s find out what we’re dealing with and then we can go from there.

All right, so turn the hot water tap on and you can see the display on the hot water system has come on. These electronics are temperature controlled, so this one’s limited at 50 degrees, but you can change the temperature. It’s on max temperature 50 here, so within a metre we should be getting 49 degrees. Let me turn that temperature program so you can see it. It’s going up there to 49.4, so I would tend to disagree that there’s no hot water. As I said, I’m yet to come across a problem with one of these systems, and because it is giving hot water at 50 degrees as it should, I’m going to go around and check all of the outlets because I’ve got a sneaking suspicion I know what might be going on.

We’re now at the kitchen sink. What do we have here? 48, so 48.6 at the kitchen sink behind me. Now I can always expect there’ll be a little bit of heat loss in the pipes between the hot water system and the outlet. The first outlet being right next to the hot water system, I would always expect it to be a little bit hotter than the kitchen sink that’s in the middle of the apartment.

Back to the system. I’ve got a secret sneaking suspicion because where people usually have an issue is in their showers. You don’t normally notice the temperature of a basin because you put your hand in for a few seconds and done. But where you always do notice it is showers, because you’re setting that to a desired temperature. If you were showering at 50 or 49 degrees, it’d be too hot, so you’d actually set that down to a temperature a little bit cooler. Usually the issue is where you’ve set the temperature but then it fluctuates. I’m pretty sure the problem is a water fluctuation problem rather than the hot water system itself, because where the hot water system is just an outlet, like the kitchen sink or the basin, it’s a constant hot temperature. So I don’t think the hot water system is the problem. I’ve got a feeling that the showers are the problem. Let’s take a further look.

Here’s the shower in the ensuite. There’s the hot water system, here’s the shower. Now I’ve got a sneaky suspicion. It’s hard to measure the temperature of this because you’ve got to sort of cup your hand and you’re not really going to be showing the fluctuation. I’m taking the shower head off the hose and you can actually see that in there is a water restrictor to save wastage of water. The problem is that they play havoc on continuous flow hot water systems, both electric and gas. That little device in there is pretty much slowing down the flow of water out of the system. When it does that below the tolerance level on the system, it’s telling the system to turn on and turn off. So when it’s time to turn on and turn off, what’s going to happen is it’s going to get hot and cold, so i’m pretty sure we just found the problem. If we just pop that little restrictor out (you guys can do this at home), let’s use a little screwdriver, pop that out. The restricted device will obviously slow down the flow of the water and now we’ve got full bore.

If we’ve got full bore water flowing through the hot water system and through the shower head, we won’t get that fluctuation anymore. Let me just put all that back together and let’s give that a try. Well, that’s hot. It’s getting a little bit too hot for my hand. Let’s try cooling it down to a desired temperature we’d shower under. That’s a nice temperature, and it seems consistent. Yeah, I think we’ve cracked it guys.

Alrighty, so job done. Still yet to find an issue on the Stiebel Eltron LCD hot water systems, but what I have found is a water restrictor issue on the shower. So next time you think you might have an issue with your hot water system and you can narrow it down to just being in the shower, then give that a try. That might save a little bit of money before you call us out. All right guys, thank you for watching. I hope you enjoyed the video – that was a nice helpful little hint for you – and we’ll catch you in the next video. Take care, goodbye.

Hot Water System

Hi everybody, it’s Richard at Plumbdog, so I’ve just come out to a property where the customers just brought me around the back of the house. He’s showing me his hot water system and he’s asked me to come out here and service it. He seems to think it’s working quite hard, he can hear sort of water travelling through and he sort of thinks his water bills are a bit higher than usual.

Before I get started, if the water bills are quite high and you can hear running water this will point in me towards the fact that there might be a bit of a water leak instead of an actual system fault.

I’m going to go out to the front of the property and just going to check if we’re losing any water there. At the water meter, I’m just going to perform a five-minute test and see if it’s moving at all. If the needle moves, there’s a water leak. Every full circle, every time it goes around 360 degrees that’s one litre.

It’s not moving much but it’s definitely moving. You can see that needle is moving – it’s just moving really slowly. If you blink, you’d miss it. This is the reason we do tests over five minutes.

I’m going to a see if I can figure out where that leak might be. I’ll isolate the hot water system first and see if it’s on the hotline or the cold line. I have retested as I’ve isolated the water cold feed into the hot water system to see if it made any difference and it didn’t. That means is that there is a small water leak but it’s on the cold line not the hotline.

This would mean that the job has now transitioned from hot water servicing to leak detection, which are two totally different specialized services of ours. Have a look at the video to determine the next steps utilised to resolve the leak.

Changing a Wall Mounted Mixer Tap
  • A burst pipe is often reflected by a sudden increase in your water bill.
  • Contacting a licensed plumber to detect and fix your leak will save time, money and precious water.
  • Be sure to take care of pipes and avoid damaging them when installing so as to reduce the chance of a burst pipe later on.
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Finding the source of a leak can be both time consuming and frustrating. The mystery of what mess you could find beneath the ground may be daunting, but with Plumbdog on hand we can save you time, endless digging to find your leak and many, many litres of water. Here Darius shows us how the team uses their specialist equipment to quickly find the source of the leak and fix the problem.

BURST PIPE
Darius arrives at a call out for a burst pipe and with some initial checks realises the problem is external to the house coming from the cold water main.

FUJI LEAK DETECTOR TIME
Like a stethoscope for leak detection, Darius uses the Fuji Leak Detector to test the area around the suspected leak. Navigating his way closer to the water metre he finds the correct spot to target his digging.

UNEARTHING THE PROBLEM
With the removal of a few pavers and a bit of digging, Darius finds the source of the water leak with damp soil near the copper pipe joining the polypropylene pipe. Turning the water main back on confirms this is the source of the leak, with water starting to gush out of the poly pipe. With a little more digging Darius reveals a number of damage points in the poly pipe that have weakened and split open.

AVOIDING THE ISSUE
The damage found was most likely caused during the installation phase of the build. The pipe was relatively new and should have lasted a lot longer, however the pipe looked as though it had been dragged and damaged, weakening the pipe. A nice reminder that taking care of your plumbing materials (like Plumbdog do!) will mean less hassles down the line.

THE SOLUTION
Darius decides the most efficient way to repair the damaged pipe is to extend the copper pipe down to where there is some undamaged poly pipe to connect to. Darius is careful to add a bend to the copper pipe extension to help relax the angle of the join to the poly pipe. Sharper angled joins are a possible contributing factor to damage and weak spots in the pipe.

Plumbdog uses specialist equipment, in this case the REMS press gun to join the copper pipe extension to the existing copper pipe. The press gun is used to crimp the sections of pipe together. A Plasson fitting is used at the other end of the copper pipe extension to connect to the existing undamaged poly pipe.
Tip: Always check that the Plasson fittings have the grab ring around the right way as sometimes they can be put in the fitting back to front.

TESTS AND CHECKS
Plumbdog takes pride in getting the job done well which is why the final checks are so important. Darius turns the mains water back on and runs the nearest tap while visually inspecting for leaks around the newly installed pipe. The water metre is also tested for a period of time to ensure that no water is being lost anywhere else.

GOT A LEAK?
Let Plumbdog play their favourite detective game!
If you’re in the Greater Perth area, invite us round to find your leak. We’ll bring our favourite gadgets and will be happy to get the problem sorted for you and save you time and precious water!

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