I have a leak in my property and would like to establish the source of it. How can I do that?

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. A good test to use is the Total Chlorine test. 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 (free chlorine) added to water. A chlorine test works best when the leak is a fresh because chlorine evaporates over time. 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

Total Chlorine Test:

These patented Total Chlorine water quality test strips have a high range of detection and are calibrated to be both accurate and sensitive.

Contains: 50 strips

  • Method A: 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 0.8, 4.0, 10.0 ppm (mg/l)
  • Method B: 0, 0.05, 0.1, 0.15, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0 ppm (mg/l)

Total Test time: 33 Seconds

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Extended Range Water pH Test:

These wide range pH test strips are the convenient measurement tool for pH. It covers nearly the whole pH range from 2 to 12, whilst still measuring smaller increments in the crucial range of 6 to 10.

Contains: 50 strips per bottle

Testing Levels: pH: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 11, 12

Total Test time: 30 seconds

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eXact iDip Photometer Smart Digital Water Tester

For regular & accurate on site testing, this Smart Digital Water Tester is perfect. Record, email and compare results all with your Smart Phone.

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Please note, that whilst it helps to test the water of the leak and the various water sources around it, this may not be entirely conclusive. This will be the case when chlorine has evaporated from the water in the leak or the pH levels are too similar to make a clear distinction. A number of different tests may be necessary to eliminate potential sources of the leak.

Good luck with identifying the source of the leak!


Further Free Resources:

Got a question about water testing? Try our complete list of Free Water Testing Resources. Here are the most frequently read guides:

If you can't find what you are looking for then please contact us, as we can source many other test kits. Discounts for bulk purchase available, please contact us to find out more.


Disclaimer: Only opinions based upon our own personal experience or information detailed in academic journals or other publications is cited. This has been done exclusively for anyone who is interested in this subject but is not intended to replace proper analysis. We cannot accept responsibility and liability of any kind which may result from the application of this information. We always recommend to consult an expert to discuss any test results or get a full recommendation on the specific subject and specific to your situation by an expert.

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