Water Main Break?

Old 05-07-10, 12:46 PM
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Water Main Break?

My sump pump has been running several times a day and it hasn't rained in over a week. I'm beginning to think that there is a leak in the main water line that feeds my house. Reason being that not only is water constantly trickling into my sump, but my water bill last month said we (just my wife and I) used over 5000 gallons of water! That's the most consumption we've had over the last two years, and seems ridiculously high for just two people considering our habits haven't changed. Is there any way the water company can detect a leak without digging up the ground? And how likely is it that this is the problem? Again, it only rained one day about a week ago and was sunny/dry for weeks prior to that. I can't imagine there is still rain water draining through the ground to my foundation.
Old 05-07-10, 01:11 PM
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Neighbor just went through this kinda thing.

Turn off your main house cutoff (not the meter shutoff) and look at the meter...is the little orange triangle turning? You prob have a leak. The pump running is odd...if it never happened before.

You may find it to be things like bad flappers on toilets (got any you don't visit often?) but unlikely since the pump is running.

What was your avg usage before? 5000 for a month doesn't seem out of line to me. Fact is, it sounds pretty good. Most people say about 100 gal per day per person....
Old 05-07-10, 06:26 PM
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If you think the meter says it is high - then where is your meter?Is it inside the basement? If the leak was outside, yet near the foundation, it be before the meter (at least in my parts it is). But if that were leaking you could probably hear the sound of it, if you held a metal drinking glass up to the main pipe feeding the meter. If ever you want to use a glass for a stethoscope, you turn the glass so the open bell touches the pipe, and the solid bottom is against your ear.

I have heard water running hundreds of yards away this way, between rental mobile homes, when I instructed the person hundreds of yards away, to systematically turn their water on and off(so I knew the sound was coming from them and not someone closer) running only a little trickle - and could hear it!
Old 05-07-10, 06:36 PM
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Meter is out at the street. I will try shutting the main valve off (inside house) and checking the orange triangle. I would imagine the water company could come out and do a pressure test as well if it comes down to that. My bill has my water usage history for the past year, and this past March was the highest it has been all year, which I found odd, because it wasn't even as high last summer when we use even more water. Historical average is about 3-4k gallons I would say.
Old 05-16-10, 07:37 PM
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This happened to my parents ~15 years ago. The main water line settled over a rock, and caused a small leak, which ran constantly into the nearby sump pump. A plumber and/or the water company found it by first turning off the water where it entered the house and listening with a stethoscope. They then pinpointed the underground leak using a specialized piece of equipment to listen underground.

Turned out it was directly under the front concrete steps... which was a whole other story.

I'd start with your water company. They may have the equipment to help, especially if it's leaking before the water meter. Though they probably won't fix it for you, they could at least point you in the right direction. They may also unofficially may be able to recommend a local plumbing contractor that can handle a diagnosis and repair like this.

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