Best Tools for Water Leak Detection

In the realm of common plumbing problems, none has the bigger potential to cause a massive headache than a slab leak. This is not only because it can ramp up your water bills to astronomical levels – but because they can be notoriously difficult to detect.

Left unnoticed and unattended, this silent destroyer can cause immense issues, including structural damage that can make your home uninhabitable. Fortunately, modern technological achievements gave us an answer to this problem.

Today, Riverside slab leak detection rests upon the shoulders of specialists equipped with various tools that make even this problem relatively easy to detect. Let us see what these accessories are and why are they irreplaceable in modern plumbing.

What tool would you use to find a water leak under concrete?

There are various implements that can locate leaks beneath the concrete slab. While each of them is good in its own way, they still vary widely in accuracy, build, and detection methodology. 


Acoustic Listening Devices

What tool would you use to find a water leak under concrete

Also known as “electronic amplification equipment”, acoustic listening devices work by amplifying the sound of water moving through or escaping the pipes, making it easy to find and address the source of the issue.


  • Highly effective at pinpointing the leaks;
  • Non-invasive;


  • Typically require training to use;
  • Limited to audible sounds only.

Pressure testing

This method involves using a variety of implements, ranging from pressure test pumps to data monitoring and logging systems. As the name suggests, it works by pressurizing the water system and observing the variations in pressure which can indicate the existence of a leak.


  • Effective at detecting small and large leaks;
  • High accuracy;
  • Time-efficient;


  • Invasive – requires direct access to the pipeline;
  • May cause additional stress to the water system;

Gas Tracer Systems (GTS)

GTSs work by introducing traceable gas directly into the pipeline. If there’s a crack, the gas will escape through it, and end up detected by specialized equipment, pinpointing the leak with excellent accuracy. 


  • High accuracy;
  • Quick and effective at detecting small and large leaks;
  • Non-invasive;


  • Requires specialized equipment and training;
  • Tracer gases are expensive;
  • Limited applicability in certain environmental conditions.

Best Tools for Water Leak DetectionInfrared Cameras (IRCs)

As of now, this is one of the best methods to detect underground leaks. IRCs use infrared thermography, more commonly known as “thermal imaging” to capture temperature differences which can be indicators of water leaks.


  • Non-invasive;
  • Highly efficient and fast;
  • Applicable in a wide variety of situations;


  • Requires training to be used effectively;
  • Expensive;
  • Limited effectiveness in certain conditions;

Honorable mentions

Finally, there are several methods that either don’t use tools or whose primary purpose isn’t leak detection, but they can expedite the detection and remediation process and ensure that the leak won’t reach your foundation.

Visual inspection

This is, by far, the easiest and most accessible leak detection method available, as it involves using tools we all have: eyes. Its downside, however, is that it can only detect leaks that already caused visible damage. Still, it is quick, easy, non-invasive, and DIY-friendly (provided you know what you’re looking for), so there’s no reason not to use it.

Electromagnetic (EM) pipeline locators

While EM locators’ primary purpose isn’t leak detection, they bear a mention on this list. These implements are used to map out pipe locations, which further cuts the diagnostic time. Additionally, they are irreplaceable in rare cases when non-invasive methods fail to provide results, and invasive techniques (namely slab penetration) become the only option.

Who in Riverside performs reliable slab leak detection?

The Leak Detection Pros is the preferred leak detection and remediation company on either bank of Santa Ana River and throughout the Riverside County area. Our seasoned technicians use the latest tools and non-invasive techniques to find and address hidden leaks in record time. Reach out to us today and ensure the safety of your property with adequate insurance for years to come!