Leak in property

When you discover a leak in your property, especially if the water comes up through the floor, it is worth finding out whether the water leaks from your pipes or whether it comes from the ground or is rainwater (from outside your property).

A simple & cheap way to find out, is by testing the water.

If water has been treated, then it is likely to contain chlorine, which is added to the mains water. Good tests to use are the Free Chlorine test precise range or the Total Chlorine test. Free Chlorine levels in drinking water should be between 0.2 and 2.0ppm. Total Chlorine measures the amount of free and combined chlorine in water. Water suppliers are encouraged to reduce the amount of sanitiser added to water. The free chlorine test works best when the leak is a fresh because chlorine evaporates. If the water has been sitting for a while somewhere, then chlorine may have disappeared.

In that case, a wide range water pH test may be the better option. The pH of rain water varies, due to its origin, but it tends to be more acidic, primarily due to the presence of two strong acids, sulphuric acid (H2SO4) and nitric acid (HNO3). On the other hand, water quality regulations specify that the pH of tap water should be between 6.5 and 9.5, which is alkaline (although that can change as water passes through the network of water mains).

From customer feedback, which we have received, it seems the wide range pH test is the more reliable test in establishing the source of a leak.

To use the wide range water pH test as an indicator, carry out a number of tests using water from different sources around the property, note the pH of each and then compare the results to the pH of the water in the leak:

  1. Test your tap water
  2. Test your rainwater (if you have a water butt or bird table in the garden)
  3. Test groundwater, if you think this may be a cause
  4. And finally, compare the results to the water from your leak to identify the water source for the leak
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