Get quotes for leak detection

HaMuch is Excellent
By Emily Rivers
Last updated 24th April 2023

Leak Detection Cost Guide for 2023

If you suspect that you have a water leak in your home, you'll want to find it straight away. Some leaks can go unnoticed for months or even years, only making themselves known once they've caused a lot of damage. Leak detection can help you find leaks before they cause too much damage – but how much does it cost?

How much does it cost to have a leak detected?

How much it costs to have a leak detected depends on the type of leak detection you need and your plumber's hourly rate. HaMuch has a huge database of hourly and daily rates for plumbers based on location, so take a look at those rates further down the page to find your area – but these are the average leak detection costs in the UK:

Item

Average cost

Standard plumber leak detection

£120

Infrared camera leak detection

£575

Tracer gas leak detection

£1,150

Acoustic device leak detection

£1,250

Before you go ahead with leak detection, make sure you check your home insurance. Many home insurance policies now include ‘trace and access’, which refers to finding and exposing a water leak so it can be repaired. Some insurance companies may arrange leak detection for you, while others will ask you to arrange it yourself and claim the cost back.

Most home insurance policies won't cover the repair of the leak, but you can buy plumbing and drainage cover separately.

Cost to detect a leak

How does leak detection work?

Leak detection works by using specialist equipment to find leaks that might be hiding under floors or behind walls. Common ways of detecting leaks include acoustic listening equipment, infrared cameras and tracer gas. Tracer gas is one of the most common methods, as it's non-invasive and easy for a specialist to set up.

Narrowing down the search

First, the plumber will ask you some questions to try to narrow down an area to search for a leak. If you have them, it's useful but not necessary to show plans of your home's pipework.

Common things you might notice if you have a leak are damp patches on walls, ceilings or floors and you may even be able to hear a faint running sound from pipes, like when your central heating is on or you’re running a tap. Let your plumber know of any signs you’ve noticed.

Injecting the gas

Next, the plumber will turn off your water supply and inject gas into your pipework, often via your kitchen or bathroom tap. This gas is typically made up of 5% hydrogen and 95% nitrogen. Once the gas has moved through your pipework, the plumber will try to trace it.

Tracing the leak

Your plumber will use a tracer device, often called a sniffer, to try to locate your leak. This device usually attaches to a pole and a monitoring device that will give readings.

They will start in the area that’s most likely to have a leak, but they will try to follow your pipework to check the entire length. If you have a leak on the pipework, the injected gas will leak out of any holes in the pipe. A sniffer device is designed to detect hydrogen, even in very small amounts, so it can detect the tiniest of leaks.

Hydrogen particles are miniscule, so they can travel through materials like wood and concrete, meaning that if your pipes are underground the sniffer will still be able to detect leaks through your flooring. Sniffer devices usually make a beeping sound that intensifies as it gets closer to the source of the leak, helping the specialist to pinpoint the exact location.

Accessing the leak

Once the plumber is sure that they have found the source of your leak, they will try to access it. This could involve removing plasterboard or floor coverings and drilling down into concrete to expose the pipe. They will continue to use the sniffer to help them ensure they’re still in the right place, until they find the leaking pipe.

Repairing the leak

Once the leak detection specialist has exposed the leak, it’s unlikely that they will repair it. Since the leak could start to cause more damage to your home once it’s exposed, it’s a good idea to have a plumber on standby to come and repair it. Alternatively, you could contact an emergency plumber – but this will be more expensive.

How do water companies detect leaks?

Water companies generally detect leaks by automatically monitoring your water meter readings. If they detect that your home is constantly using water throughout the day, they will probably write to you letting you know that they think you have a leak.

For leaks of a certain size, they will require you to have it found and fixed within a certain time frame, because they have a responsibility to prevent water from being wasted. It's important to let your water company know when you have had a water leak fixed, as they may be able to give you a credit on your bill to make up for the lost water if you tell them in a timely fashion.

How do I know if my underground water line is leaking?

The easiest way to tell whether your underground water line is leaking requires you to have a water meter. If you do, turn your internal stopcock off – you'll usually find it under your kitchen sink. This will turn off the water supply to your taps, toilet and any other appliances in your home, but your underground mains supply will still be on.

Head to your water meter. If it's a digital one, you should see an array of numbers on a screen, like on your electricity meter. When water is being used, you’ll see a plus ‘+’ sign flashing under the numbers. If you don’t see the plus sign and the numbers don’t move for 30 minutes or more, it’s likely that your leak is coming from something inside your house, like a toilet or tap. But if you see this plus sign, or you notice the numbers going up, there’s a leak on your underground water line.

Once you’ve determined that your leak is on your water supply, it’s time to get in touch with your insurance company or a leak detection company, so you can find and access the leak before it causes any damage.

Leak detection can be expensive if it’s not covered by your insurance policy, so make sure you get a range of quotes to get the best price. Post your job on HaMuch now to get in touch with qualified plumbers in your area that are available to help.


Estimates for common plumber jobs;

Rates for other trades

Find a leak, leak detection cost in the UK
Find a leak, leak detection cost in the UK (excluding VAT or callout charges)
Location in UKFind a leak, leak detection cost
Find a leak, leak detection near Aberdeen£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Amber Valley£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Angus£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Arun£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Ashfield£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Aylesbury Vale£165
Find a leak, leak detection near Barnsley£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Basildon£153
Find a leak, leak detection near Basingstoke & Deane£180
Find a leak, leak detection near Bassetlaw£117
Find a leak, leak detection near Bath & North East Somerset£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Bedford£159
Find a leak, leak detection near Belfast£111
Find a leak, leak detection near Birmingham£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Blackburn£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Blackpool£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Bolton£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Bournemouth£144
Find a leak, leak detection near Bracknell Forest£180
Find a leak, leak detection near Bradford£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Braintree£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Breckland£105
Find a leak, leak detection near Bridgend£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Brighton£162
Find a leak, leak detection near Bristol£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Broadland£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Broxtowe£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Bury£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Caerphilly£117
Find a leak, leak detection near Calderdale£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Cambridge£147
Find a leak, leak detection near Canterbury£147
Find a leak, leak detection near Cardiff£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Carmarthenshire£102
Find a leak, leak detection near Charnwood£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Chelmsford£153
Find a leak, leak detection near Cheltenham£147
Find a leak, leak detection near Cherwell£159
Find a leak, leak detection near Chester£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Colchester£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Conway£111
Find a leak, leak detection near Coventry£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Crewe & Nantwich£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Dacorum£171
Find a leak, leak detection near Derby£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Doncaster£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Dover£147
Find a leak, leak detection near Dudley£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Dumfries & Galloway£117
Find a leak, leak detection near Dundee£141
Find a leak, leak detection near East Ayrshire£132
Find a leak, leak detection near East Devon£117
Find a leak, leak detection near East Dunbartonshire£132
Find a leak, leak detection near East Hampshire£147
Find a leak, leak detection near East Hertfordshire£168
Find a leak, leak detection near East Lindsey£120
Find a leak, leak detection near East Riding£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Eastleigh£144
Find a leak, leak detection near Edinburgh£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Elmbridge£180
Find a leak, leak detection near Epping Forest£180
Find a leak, leak detection near Erewash£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Exeter£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Falkirk£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Fife£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Flintshire£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Gateshead£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Gedling£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Glasgow£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Gloucester£198
Find a leak, leak detection near Guildford£183
Find a leak, leak detection near Gwynedd£111
Find a leak, leak detection near Halton£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Harrogate£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Havant & Waterloo£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Highland£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Horsham£171
Find a leak, leak detection near Huntingdonshire£147
Find a leak, leak detection near Ipswich£153
Find a leak, leak detection near Isle of Wight£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Kings Lynn & West Norfolk£114
Find a leak, leak detection near Kingston-upon-Hull£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Kirklees£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Knowsley£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Lancaster£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Leeds£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Leicester£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Lisburn£111
Find a leak, leak detection near Liverpool£126
Find a leak, leak detection near London£180
Find a leak, leak detection near Luton£171
Find a leak, leak detection near Macclesfield£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Maidstone£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Manchester£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Mid Bedfordshire£162
Find a leak, leak detection near Mid Sussex£171
Find a leak, leak detection near Middlesbrough£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Milton Keynes£159
Find a leak, leak detection near Neath Port Talbot£123
Find a leak, leak detection near New Forest£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Newbury£183
Find a leak, leak detection near Newcastle-under-Lyme£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Newcastle-upon-Tyne£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Newport£117
Find a leak, leak detection near North Ayrshire£129
Find a leak, leak detection near North East Lincolnshire£123
Find a leak, leak detection near North Hertfordshire£168
Find a leak, leak detection near North Lanarkshire£132
Find a leak, leak detection near North Lincolnshire£120
Find a leak, leak detection near North Somerset£126
Find a leak, leak detection near North Tyneside£132
Find a leak, leak detection near North Wiltshire£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Northampton£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Norwich£138
Find a leak, leak detection near Nottingham£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Nuneaton & Bedworth£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Oldham£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Oxford£165
Find a leak, leak detection near Pembrokeshire£93
Find a leak, leak detection near Perth & Kinross£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Peterborough£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Plymouth£108
Find a leak, leak detection near Poole£144
Find a leak, leak detection near Portsmouth£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Powys£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Preston£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Reading£180
Find a leak, leak detection near Redcar & Cleveland£138
Find a leak, leak detection near Reigate & Banstead£183
Find a leak, leak detection near Renfrewshire£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Rhondda, Cynon, Taff£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Rochdale£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Rochester-upon-Medway£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Rotherham£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Salford£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Salisbury£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Sandwell£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Scarborough£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Scottish Borders£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Sefton£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Sevenoaks£171
Find a leak, leak detection near Sheffield£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Slough£177
Find a leak, leak detection near Solihull£132
Find a leak, leak detection near South Ayrshire£129
Find a leak, leak detection near South Bedfordshire£159
Find a leak, leak detection near South Cambridgeshire£150
Find a leak, leak detection near South Gloucestershire£126
Find a leak, leak detection near South Kesteven£132
Find a leak, leak detection near South Lanarkshire£135
Find a leak, leak detection near South Oxfordshire£168
Find a leak, leak detection near South Somerset£111
Find a leak, leak detection near South Tyneside£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Southampton£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Southend-on-Sea£144
Find a leak, leak detection near St Albans£174
Find a leak, leak detection near St Helens£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Stafford£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Stockport£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Stockton-on-Tees£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Stoke-on-Trent£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Stratford-on-Avon£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Stroud£144
Find a leak, leak detection near Suffolk Coastal£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Sunderland£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Swale£147
Find a leak, leak detection near Swansea£120
Find a leak, leak detection near Tameside£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Teignbridge£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Tendring£153
Find a leak, leak detection near Test Valley£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Thamesdown£171
Find a leak, leak detection near Thanet£141
Find a leak, leak detection near The Wrekin£204
Find a leak, leak detection near Thurrock£159
Find a leak, leak detection near Torbay£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Trafford£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Vale of Glamorgan£123
Find a leak, leak detection near Vale of White Horse£165
Find a leak, leak detection near Vale Royal£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Wakefield£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Walsall£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Warrington£132
Find a leak, leak detection near Warwick£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Waveney£141
Find a leak, leak detection near Waverley£177
Find a leak, leak detection near Wealden£156
Find a leak, leak detection near West Lancashire£126
Find a leak, leak detection near West Lothian£141
Find a leak, leak detection near West Wiltshire£150
Find a leak, leak detection near Wigan£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Windsor & Maidenhead£174
Find a leak, leak detection near Wirral£126
Find a leak, leak detection near Wokingham£183
Find a leak, leak detection near Wolverhampton£135
Find a leak, leak detection near Wrexham Maelor£129
Find a leak, leak detection near Wychavon£138
Find a leak, leak detection near Wycombe£177
Find a leak, leak detection near York£120