Leaks inside the home are easy to find, as the flooding and stains they cause are unmistakable. An outside leak, however, can be a bit harder to detect. Here are the top signs that the water line outside your home has sprung a leak.
A Higher Water Bill
As years go by, most people begin to get a good idea of how much water their family uses during the month, to say nothing of how much it costs. If your water bill suddenly skyrockets without explanation, it’s time to suspect a hidden leak in some location. Once you’ve ruled out your indoor plumbing, it’s time to step outside.
Puddles in Your Yard
After a heavy rain, or when you’ve left the sprinklers on too long, you can expect a few wet spots here and there. If, however, you suddenly notice pools of water for which you have no logical explanation, it’s time to start an investigation. That water is coming from somewhere.
Check Your Water Meter
First, ensure that no one in the family has the water running. Then, check the leakage indicator on your water meter. If the dial is moving, you have a problem. You can also take two separate meter readings, each of which is spaced about an hour apart, to make this determination.
The Sound of Leaking Water
Everyone is familiar with the sound of water as it flows from the faucet or shower. Water underground, however, sings a different song, and a water leak detector can help you hear it. A hissing or whooshing sound is always present in any broken pipe that carries water at a pressure of 30 psi or higher. Less common indicative sounds include splashes, clinks and thumps.
Things That Can Cause an Outdoor Leak
An unsettled season of long freezes followed by frequent thaws can cause some water lines, regardless of their age, to give up the ghost in a hurry. Regardless of the weather, however, very old, defective or improperly installed water lines can also begin to leak.
If you should suspect a broken outside water line, call a plumber immediately. This is a job for professionals. No homeowner should attempt to make this sort of repair on his own.