Your plumbing is both everywhere and hidden from sight, making leak detection difficult. Something like an increased water bill or accumulated water in your home may have tipped you off, but now you need to find exactly where the problem lies.
Smoke tests can be performed on indoor plumbing lines, outdoor plumbing lines or sewer lines. It is a quick, easy and safe way to detect even the smallest leaks. Basically, smoke filled air is forced through the system, so that you can see wherever it may escape. You can rent smoke machines yourself or call in a professional to perform your sewer smoke test.
If you are at least a little bit familiar with your plumbing, you can conduct a pressure test yourself with some guidance. However, it is never a bad idea to allow a professional to do it. You can buy a pressure gauge from almost any hardware store that you can attach to your outdoor hose bib. Make sure that no appliances are running inside, and turn the water on full blast. It should not be below 30 or above 75 pounds per square inch.
This test is specifically for your toilet. Put a few drops of food coloring into the water of the tank. If it shows up in the bowl, or anywhere else for that matter, you’ll know that you have a leak. Water shouldn’t flow between the tank and the bowl when you aren’t flushing, and this type of issue is best handled by a plumber. If you find water on the floor where the toilet connects to the ground, you may have a wax gasket leak, which you can fix yourself without any training.
It may seem intimidating at first, but finding a leak in your plumbing is easier than it seems. If you’re unsure, consult with your plumber about which method is best for your situation.