Have you ever wished you had underground GPS in your pipes because you suspect you are being overcharged for your water bill? Sadly, due to blunders in city planning, construction or major property renovations, you could end up paying your neighbor’s utility bill. Thankfully, with underground leak detection equipment, GPS is included in the service, and you can use this data to support your case. The terms we often use in the industry for these types of inspections are sewer camera and utility location, source and origins inspections or sub-utility water supply investigations. To find out more about how this works, check out the details below.
How common is it to pay your neighbor’s water bill?
About 10 years ago, WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported there were condo owners with issues with their water getting shut off without notice despite paying the bill on time. After an investigation, WRAL quoted Dale Crisp, director of Raleigh’s Public Utilities, stating the difficulty of correctly assigning water lines in multi-level housing like condos. Dale Crisp also stated, “the reality is that the builders don’t build it perfect every time. The inspectors don’t catch it every time, and some of these go on for years before they’re caught by the customer or by us.”
Why do homeowners employ leak detection services?
Most homeowners will call a leak detection service when they notice their utility bill is higher than usual. After setting up an appointment for an inspection, the leak detection service will look for an underground leaking pipe. When the leaking pipe is isolated, the pipe is removed and replaced or coated with a food-grade cure-in-place epoxy pipe liner. Afterwards, the utility bill usually goes back to the previously low rate before the leak began. Unfortunately, some homeowners notice their water bill is high even when they are on vacation, and it is often due to having a piping system that mistakenly connects to a neighboring property.
Will the utility company examine my pipes?
In some situations, the utility companies will thoroughly investigate a claim that the water bill is being paid by a single homeowner or tenant instead of two or more. Regardless, there are many reasons to choose a third-party or independent leak detection service. In addition to providing the data you need to prove you are paying someone else’s bill in error, a third-party leak detection service will also isolate any key issues you are having, and may be able to represent your situation to other authorities.
How do you get GPS pipe mapping services?
To get started with these types of GPS pipe mapping services, your first question when calling to set up a free estimate for leak detection should pertain to the equipment the inspection company uses. For example, you will not want to go with a company that still uses old techniques such as digging up the whole yard with trenches to examine the outside of each pipe. This technique has a second problem since the outside of the pipes does not often reveal the wall thinness or erosion on the inside of the pipes. Instead, you will want a leak detection company that employs fiber optic cameras on ropes that connects with a laptop.
Why GPS mapping and leak detection help you save money
In general terms, leak detection services will use their equipment to find areas of your underground pipes that have damage. Instead of digging up the entire yard, the computers record all of the relevant information with fiber optic rope cameras. The information provided gives clues about how far the pipes extend, whether they have connecting pipes and if they are exit or entry water pipes. The same system can also be used for sewer pipes. Interestingly, the same technology that records the exact GPS for the damaged pipes can provide crucial data about where problematic pipes are located and if they are driving up the cost of your water bill.
How to use GPS data to stop paying your neighbor’s water bill
Once you have the data about the pipes, where they are located, and if they are possibly giving your neighbors free utilities, the next step is to file the paperwork with the proper authority. In many cases, this begins with contacting your local utility company, and seeing if they have a proactive plan. However, if they refuse your data after not providing the service themselves, filing a court case is an excellent way to solve the problem. In addition to getting back pay from the utility company, landlord or neighboring property, a judge may also ask for any of your legal bills to be reimbursed.
Other ways leak detection services are helpful
When you are actively seeking leak detection to help with a shared water bill issue, do not forget there are other ways a full inspection can help you save money. Along with fiber optic rope cameras and laptops, we can do pool inspections the old-fashioned way by jumping into the pool to check for leaks. We also check for leaks in home foundations and work with irrigation systems. In other words, if you notice a high water bill, we have the inspection services you have been seeking. To get a better understanding of how we can help, call Leak Locators at 919-376-9203. We are happy to help homeowners and commercial property owners throughout the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle area. Thank you for choosing our services, and we look forward to hearing from you.