Have you noticed signs of water accumulating in your yard on a hot summer day? Or perhaps your water bill has skyrocketed and there’s an alarming price difference between the last few months, even though you haven’t used significantly more water. Your cooling and heating repair expert will immediately tell you that these are signs of an underground pipe leak.
From the get-go, a pipe leak in your home can easily be found since you’ll see water ponding on your floor, dripping from the ceiling or making your walls soggy to the touch. However, finding a leaking pipe underground in your yard is a different challenge altogether. Underground water leaks are difficult to spot since the pipes are buried deep below the surface, under your yard, driveway or some other area that’s difficult to reach. You may even have to think about getting a tractor to dig out the yard just to get to the root of the issue if you have a pipe leak.
Fortunately, in this post, the top drain and plumbing repair expert in the area, R.A. Biel Plumbing & Heating, Inc, shares how you can tell if you have an underground water leak.
Determining If You Have an Existing Water Leak
Underground pipes can leak if the underground water supply pipe bursts or leaks along its length or where it connects to other sections and fittings. Pipe leaks and breaks can occur due to invasive roots, shifting ground, corroding pipes or drilling by local companies. Many homeowners follow the philosophy of “out of sight, out of mind”, but this shouldn’t be the case when you’re taking care of your home’s plumbing. You should take action as soon as possible to get to the root of the problem. Here are a few methods that you can follow to find the source of the leak:
Find out where your water meter is. Your plumbing repair expert will tell you that most residential water meters can be found on the street or the curb near the house. These water meters are usually buried underground in a protective box that will prevent water from entering it. Most of them are made from concrete, along with their lids, making them very heavy and hard to handle without the right tools. You can easily lift the lid off the box by using a hook or a large screwdriver for some leverage and lifting it away from the box.
It’s also worth checking what kind of water meter you have to see whether it’s analog or a digital style. Fortunately, most water meters are currently running the digital versions. This benefits you a lot since your local water provider can easily notify you if you have a water leak due to the abnormal surge of water through your pipes. You can also accurately measure how much water you’re consuming for your convenience.
An analog meter may be outdated, but your heating and plumbing repair expert will tell you that it should still give you a good indication of whether or not you have abnormal water flow. The meter and the main valve that controls the flow of water into your house can be found inside the box. Don’t be surprised if it’s covered in dirt or gravel since it’s deep underground.
Shut off every faucet. Make sure that you turn off every fixture and appliance that utilizes water. Don’t forget to turn off the bail wire of your ice maker as well to eliminate power surging through it for a while. In any case, we strongly stress that you need to turn off the main shutoff valve that you can find near your water meter. Doing so will ensure that you won’t waste any more water moving forward. This will also make it easy for you to spot the source of the leak, or determine if you have an underground leak at all. It would be difficult to scour the pipelines with water gushing out of the ground.
Take note of the dials on the water meter. Your drain and sewer repair expert would want you to pay close attention to the water meter. Every kind of water meter features a dial that’s supposed to function as a leak detector, regardless if it’s a six-dial or a digital readout meter. If this is moving, water is coursing through the meter. If your water meter doesn’t feature a leak detector, use a grease pencil to indicate where the hand is pointing. If you have a six dial meter, mark the one that indicates 1-cubic foot intervals.
Leave the water shut off. Make sure that you leave the water valve shut off for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, check if the needle or the number on the water meter has moved. If it has, your plumbing is confirmed to have leaks somewhere down the pipeline. You should call on your local drain repair expert for assistance and keep it shut off until they come out to fix it. In the meantime, you can check around your home for sources of water waste. A few examples would be outdoor valves, hoses, sprinkler systems and other water features which can waste water until you check your water bill.
How to Find an Underground Leak
Your drain and sewer repair expert will use specialized leak detectors to find underground leaks by charging the pipes with an inert gas, such as nitrogen. If the pressurized gas finds a leak, it will come out forcefully, emitting a loud hissing noise. They’ll then push a probe into the ground, along with an amplifier with headphones to hear the hissing noise. Afterward, they’ll move along the probe’s route to determine the leak’s exact location and fix it from there.
Look no further than R.A. Biel Plumbing & Heating, Inc. for all your heating needs. Our contractors specialize in plumbing, drain and sewer, cooling and heating repair. We proudly serve Farmington, NM, and the nearby areas. Call us today at (505) 327-7755 or fill out this contact form to schedule your consultation.