DIY the Smart Way: A Beginner’s Guide to Independently Identifying Leaks

For a lot of homeowners, plumbing-related problems at home are best left in the hands of a professional that can get the job done. Even a minor leak can warrant a call to the emergency plumbing services provider.

To the uninitiated, this is a rule that must not be broken because of the complexities of a house’s plumbing system. Despite the fact that calling a local plumber for any piping or plumbing-related issue at home may seem like the easy way out, it’s not exactly the most cost-friendly solution. 

Fortunately, dealing with your own home’s pipes doesn’t have to seem like an exhausting task that would always end up in failure so as long as you have the right knowledge. Knowing your plumbing system inside-out and knowing how to detect a leak can go a long way in keeping the entire system up-to-spec.

A basic guide well worth following

If you want to deal with your plumbing issues with a DIY approach, here’s a quick guide on everything you need to know when it comes to the basics: 

The standard San Diego home is comprised of three different systems in compliance with set building codes, namely: 

1. Supply lines

This particular part of your home’s plumbing system is entirely responsible for carrying water to every outlet in your home, ranging from your tub and toilets to your sinks and washing machine. As opposed to other parts of the plumbing system, this set of lines comes in two different parts that carry hot and cold water, respectively. 

2. Ventilation lines

In conjunction with the two other components in your system, the ventilation lines are responsible for making sure that your drains work properly. By holding a proper amount of pressure or set vacuum level, these lines help ensure that everything stays nice, dry, and not flooded.

3. Drainage line

Best known as the partner of the plumbing system’s supply lines, the drainage line is primarily responsible for moving waste and water from sinks, toilets, tubs, and other sources from the house and into a septic tank or sewer line.

On finding leaks

It may not necessarily seem like a major trick, but simply being able to detect a leak without the need for a professional inspection can help you save quite a bit of money in an instant. Aside from saving money, however, knowing how to spot the leaks can also prevent your system from wasting more water, making it good practice for the environment and your utility bill.

Here are a few methods and tests that you can carry out on your own:

  • A food coloring test: The way this test works is that you add a small drop of food coloring to your toilet and add it to your tank before bed. Should you find that your water is tinted after waking up, then it’s safe to say that you’ve got a leak.
  • A leak detection tablet: Just like the food coloring test, the leak detection tablet also uses dye or coloring in order to determine the presence of a leak. 
  • Water meter inspections: With the water meter test, you’ll need to first shut off every source of water in your home. Once done, head over to the water meter. If the needle is moving, then you’ve got a leak somewhere underground.


When done correctly, a leak detection or inspection process can be used to determine when it’s time to call the plumber for a repair while knowing exactly where your current problem lies. By following this quick guide, you can save thousands of dollars on inspection and consultation fees throughout the course of owning your home.

We provide plumbing services in San Diego. Give us a call today to see how we can help you!