Water Leak Detection: Isolation Testing

Nick's Plumbing & Air Conditioning Live Video Transcription:

Potty mouth guys are back for another week of interesting plumbing topics. How you doing? Richard is Richard Saad John Eccles. Hey, during the day doing well, you fantastic glad your back. You went out of town for a week that was out of town for a couple of days. Had to go check on some double duty plumbing issues up in the Frio River area. I need a little bit of the water wasn’t flowing well? No, no. I had to walk the river, but it was a good time regardless. Oh good. Hi. So well today, um, we’re going to talk about a couple of different things. Heather from the memorial area 77079 in particular came up and she wanted us to go a little bit more in depth about our leak detection and so we want to be sure that we’re talking about the right things, right? So this is probably going to be a two part, right?

We’re going to cover one part of it today and then another part probably next week or maybe the next week after that. So we’re not talking about water leak detection, right? That’s not what we’re going to cover today. That’s going to be next week today. I think our topic is going to be more on the isolation testing that we do for our sewer drain systems for our homes, which is the follow up from last week. Last week if you guys caught the show, we were discussing hydrostatic testing, which is leak detection, right, so this is going to go a little bit more in depth of how do you isolate, what do you do? Heather asked, okay. We had a company come out. They did an overall test. It didn’t hold and they didn’t explain it right. She didn’t understand it, so she did not hire them to do isolation testing for the drain system under slab drain testing, let’s call it right.

So important. I just want to make sure our audience understands. Today we’re going to be talking about your sewage in the isolation testing that goes on with that because there’s also water leak detection, right? Which and gas leak detection. That was the next one. As I say, there’s a gas leak detection, so we’re going to go over. I think over the next course of a couple of weeks, these different kinds of detections and what it takes, what it needs to be, things that you can expect, things of that nature. But today Heather’s question, you know, she wants to hear a little bit more about the isolation. So that’s what we’re going to talk about. And then we’ll go into the other testing probably next week and then the next. So make sure that’s the lay in for y’all to come back. Right each week if you need to learn about something that we’re not talking about today on the other testing.

That’s right. So isolation testing, tell me about it. Take it away, take it away. Okay. So Heather’s specific question, and I’m going to reiterate what I said a minute ago. She had a company come in, she’s got a 1960’s home cast iron underneath the slab and this company came in and when and what? What’s happening is they’re getting settling and movement and sheet rock cracking. That’s a telltale sign that you probably have a leak in the plumbing system underneath the slab. So she hired a company to come out. They verified, yes, you have a leak and let me kind of explain what that entails, how it looks, how the process takes place for an overall test, and that’s called a hydrostatic test or a leak detection test. So when a company shows up, we’ve got these, they call them test balls, they’re inflatable balloons, think of it like that and they come on a very long air hose.

I should have brought one and I did’nt and we can do that next week and show you, but they have a very long air hose and you use that in combination with your camera system and you push this inflatable ball to the very edge of the house and then you. You pressurize it with air and then you have a monitoring point in the house and you fill the entire system up to slab level. Now, from your monitoring point, once that water comes all the way up to your monitoring point, of course you stop filling the system and then that test should stay on for approximately 30 minutes. So during this point of 30 minutes is going to be enough time to whether if you have a problem in your piping structure underneath the house, it’s going to show within that time period, because remember guys, water weighs just shy of eight pounds a gallon.

So if you can imagine how much weight is on your system, it’s going to show itself if there’s an issue. So from there it ended up Heather did have an issue, they did have pressure loss. So the next step of what we’re talking about the day is called isolation testing, isolation testing. And the definition of this is you break a larger system up into smaller pieces and you test that smaller piece and then you figure out how many different leaks that you actually have. So is that some, some areas of your house can be okay that try and then the others might not be okay. And let’s say you were in a three bathroom house, maybe not every bathroom has a problem, but you need to isolate that piece to that bathroom and you need to do it to each one and you need to take these pieces separately.

Um, and then figure out, okay, are we dealing with one leak? Do we have multiple leaks? And then after we figure all of that out, then you can engineer a solution to get it fixed. So let’s go more specific on at Nick’s plumbing & Air Conditioning. How would you, uh, do this isolation testing? Well, it’s the same method of you’ve got these inflatable balls called test balls and the company that she actually hired to come out did the overall test and they pushed it to the very end of the house and filled all the bathrooms up at the same time. Now what we need to do is we need to go back in there and we need to test each piece, break them out and see where these leaks are. Leak is located. So we use the camera system. You still have this inflatable ball on a long air hose.

You take your camera, you find the connection where that bathroom, um, is connecting to the main line and you stop it up at that location so no water can exit that bathroom. Then you fill it up again and uh, you give it 30 minutes approximately, and if there is no leaks or leaks, you know that you’ve got an issue or not an issue with that one bathroom. And then you just keep moving that inflate, and then you pull your inflatable ball off of that bathroom after the test. Then you do that to every single bathroom, laundry, kitchen until you isolate and figure out exactly where the issue is or issues are located so well. When you’re talking about isolation, you’re going to test or you’re going to. I’m sorry, you’re gonna. Use a test ball to cap off the beginning of a bathroom and the end of the bathroom, right?

So know that way you’re kind of keeping it within one place and see how you’re talking. Maybe you have to do that if it’s an if, if that bathroom and John just made a great point. If that bathroom is not isolated by itself and it continues onto the next bathroom will then yes, you need to inflatable balls and you will have to to block it off downstream and you block it off upstream so no water goes either way. Okay. So I’m glad you thought about that because the way that I was thinking is the bathroom was already by itself and you could block it off, but yes. So sometimes you have to use two balls and sometimes you have to use three inflatable dependent on your branch line, the printing on branch lines, depending on how they plumbed it, is going to depend on how many balls that you have to use and that’s a.

that’s a great reason why isolation testing sometimes is very tedious, right? We’re a where we’re trying to draw a map of something we really can’t see and understand and to ensure of yourself, you have to go through and make sure you’re exact. Because if we’re giving customers information, we want it to be accurate. You know, and so in reiterating that what can go wrong? Well, it is the most costly type of work that you could ever get done in your house. So if you’re not hiring a company that does this week in and week out, they’ve got a proven track record of doing this and you’re making a mistake because other plumbing companies are going to want the money to do it. They don’t have the expertise to do that. You, this is a highly specialized field. Uh, when it comes to isolation testing and testing overall within your drain system, company has to have a specialty within that.

Now they can have a division or people that do it, but as long as they have been doing it and it’s not their 10th time. Even I would never let somebody do my house. It hasn’t been doing it for years because if they make a mistake and they tell you that there’s a leak, there is no way for you to verify that and less you hire another company to go back in which is going to cost you a ton of money. Most people won’t do that. So you have to make sure that you are not looking at the cheapest price, let’s call it and a guy he’s telling you all we can do that for a couple of hundred dollars. No you can’t. And if they’re doing it for a couple of hundred bucks, maybe they find a leak that you really didn’t have from. I’d always be worried that, you know, especially, um, I know in our industry, a lot of companies don’t want to take other companies word because if you call company a and they did this isolation test and they charge you x and you want company to be to come look at it and see if it looks accurate.

They’re most likely want to do the one to do their own test. You know, we don’t like going off other people’s words because we don’t know. At Nick’s Plumbing & Air Conditioning, I can tell you guys, we won’t go off somebody else’s work. We do our own work, which means you’re going to have to pay for it all over again. And the only reason why is because we want to be accurate and we don’t want to take somebody that we don’t know. It’s word for it, especially again, very specialised field, very extensive expensive work for your house. All those things come into play. We want to make sure that we’re accurate and we’re right in the company that you choose. You should want them to be the same way. So if you don’t feel comfortable with them, do your research before you have that test done and make sure that you feel comfortable that you have a qualified person out there that can take care of your needs.

There’s truly only a handful of companies out of x amount that we have in Houston. There’s probably only about 12 companies maybe that can get this done correctly. But the issue is everybody wants the money for it because it’s the most expensive job you can get done. And when it comes through the repair, we are the engineer on the repair. We engineered this out of our heads. And if you’re not doing this day in weekly, uh, you might not have the engineering skills in your house, then really gets messed up. So you guys really have to think about who you’re hiring, why you’re hiring, and if you’re basing it on price, I’m telling you right now, you’re making a huge mistake. I could agree with that. So continuing on, I’m using these inflatable ball. You go through the entire house with all with isolating these different areas of the home.

Once it is all completely mapped out. And we do that with the camera system, right? Because everything’s covered up. It’s underneath the slab. We don’t have x Ray Vision, we have to use a camera with locating equipment and we locate and we figured out where everything is. We draw that up and let’s say you had more than one leak and you had multiple leaks, uh, or if you don’t want to fix that one item because your whole system is going to be the same age, right? So a lot of times you’ll want to do the entire system at one time because it’s extremely invasive. And like I tell our clientele, you only want to be invasive one time, you don’t want to keep going back underneath that slab. That’s when integrity issues could start to happen. So depending on where that leak is located, then you have to figure out how to fix that.

Or you redirect the entire system. Or do you redirect the portion of that system. Now a lot of times we can split the system up into and if it’s a kitchen and laundry issue only in the bathrooms are good. A lot of times we can abandon that utility room and abandoned that kitchen line and redirect those two lines and you’ll have brand new lines and then we can look at the bathrooms at a later date if there’s an. If an issue ever arises from one of our multiple bathrooms. But isolation testing is tedious. It’s difficult and it can absolutely allow these other plumbing companies to steal from you. It is the easiest way because everything’s covered up. You can’t see it. You’re going off of what they’re having to tell Ya. So guys, I can’t tell you enough. You’ve got to hire a good company and there’s only a handful of us. It’s good information. Next plumbing does this every day, so if you guys need John and I and we tell you this every single week, whether we do the job or we don’t do the job if you don’t hire us, but you have questions, we’re always here and we will. If we’re busy, we will call you back. Absolutely. If you leave a message and you can, we are a resource for you guys to use again, whether you hire us or not to call and ask questions of what do you think about this?

Perfect. You don’t want plumbing. People really don’t take advantage of that enough. It’s kind of interesting in our industry, but in other industries they will. But I think also, um, I don’t know a whole bunch of companies other than us that are forthcoming enough to say, call us. We’ll give you some information that you can use, whether it’s with us or anybody else. It’s pretty unique. We are unique. Yeah, we are. Why we’re in the potty mouth guys. Thank you for watching today. Thank you. So we’ll see y’all next week. Uh, probably same time. Same Place, same bat channel world headquarters in next plumbing on Durham. Alright, so we’ll, I guess we’ll see you next week in the Heights. See y’all later.

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