very high water bill - leak in back yard


Old 07-31-09, 10:42 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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very high water bill - leak in back yard

Hi - I've in the middle of a 5 week work trip. I will not be home for 2.5 more weeks. I was paying bills online and noticed my water bill was 8 times its normal amount -- at a time when it should be less because we have no water being used. My adult daughter in my community said that all toilets, appliances, and faucets - indoor and out - look good. But she said my backyard is soggy and a hammock is water logged. I do not have a sprinkler system. Any idea what would cause this. How would a plumber isolate the leak? I have asked my water company to turn off water to my home until I return. Will the plumber need the water on to find the leak? How much should I expect to pay? Thanks so much
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Old 07-31-09, 11:12 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Northeast Kansas
Posts: 751
Yes, you will need to hire a plumber to locate the leak. I assume your water supply line comes through the back yard rather than the front yard as most do? As to paying.....most cities take the stance that you used the water, regardless of whether or not it was a leak, so they will expect you to pay the entire bill. You can always try to negotiate with them, but expect to be responsible for the entire bill.

I presume the city has double-checked the meter reading. Any time a utility usage is much higher or lower than usual, the first course of action is to double check the meter reading before proceeding further. But if your backyard is soggy, that's a sign of a leak. I'm not sure how your hammock, being well above ground, got wet, unless the leak was so bad it was spraying like Old Faithful.
Old 07-31-09, 03:20 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 166
Most water service lines to the house have a tracer wire ran with them. You'll have to have the city come mark it all out. All the plumber can really do is judge where the leak is and start digging. If you're in a part of the country where it freezes hard then it'll probably be atleast 6 feet deep.
Old 08-04-09, 07:36 PM
wrmiii's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: West Texas
Posts: 256
Food for thought!

Yes, have the water on for the plumber to locate the problem. I have worked all over the United States and know for a fact that if you have a licensed plumber locate a leak on a service line and he gives you a reciept stating so, the utility company will adjust your bill from your previous three month billing. Not a sure thing in all areas but if their not willing to adjust it I would like to know the contact information for this utility. I may or may not be able to help you resolve this. Common sense prevails and most municipalities know me.
Old 08-04-09, 08:10 PM
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All good comments... assuming your water main comes in through your back yard. I recently had a pinhole leak in my water main. It took a plumber about 4 hours to dig down 7', find the leak, cut and repair the bad section. Well, it took about 3 hours and 45 minutes to do all the digging (though partially frozen ground) and only about 15 minutes to do the repair. The plumber had the key that he could turn on and off the water as needed. Total cost was about $750.

If you're there when the water company is there, you can ask them for a recommendation. They probably won't 'officially' give you a recommendation, but they probably know someone who is reliable.

Good luck!
Old 08-05-09, 09:25 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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Don't forget to investigate a claim against your homeowner's insurance. They may not cover the cost of repair/replacement of the water piping itself but they may cover the cost of damage to any contents of the house (if any) that have suffered as a result of this leak.

Ask your agent or claims representative informally and ask if making a claim would have an adverse effect on future premiums.

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