Locating and fixing leak under lawn/driveway?


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Old 02-16-11, 10:32 AM
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Locating and fixing leak under lawn/driveway?

Hi everyone, I'm having trouble with a leak under my lawn/driveway. We just purchased this house (it was built in '01) and the previous owners had left it vacant for a year so we think that the pipes must have been damaged last year and then this year the winter freeze must have popped them open. I first noticed that there was a problem when my last water bill went up by 10,000 gallons and when I went to check the water meter, I noticed that the lawn next to my driveway was soaking wet. We called american homeshield and they sent out a plumber but apparently they don't cover anything outside the house. The plumber said that it would be easier to just replace the whole system for a total cost of $1900. Here's a diagram:



I know that if its a leak under the lawn I should be able to dig down and patch it up but if its under the driveway I don't think I have the tools or expertise to bore through the driveway and repair it. Should I even bother digging up the lawn to find the pipe and hope the leak is accessible or should I leave this to the pros?
 
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Old 02-16-11, 10:43 AM
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How much time do you have to spend on it? how much money?

The hardest part is the digging. PVC is fairly cheap and easy to work with. If you diy, concentrate on the yard first, if you need to get under the driveway, you can bore a hole under it with PVC and water pressure.

I have 400' of water line coming up the hill to my house. I had a lot of problems when I first bought it because the guy that installed the line didn't bury it deep enough. When I couldn't find the break, I'd dig up a section, cap it and see if the meter turned - that helped me to narrow the leak down.

almost forgot welcome to the forums!
 
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Old 02-16-11, 11:06 AM
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I can take time off of work to fix this so time is quite available. If I can fix this for just a few hundred that would be ideal, I'm just worried about if the leak is under the driveway which is cement. Are you suggesting that I just burrow under it by blasting the soil away with water? The soil around these parts is very clay-ey which is annoying to dig in. Any tips on digging/removing standing water?
 
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Old 02-16-11, 11:20 AM
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What kind of pipes are there? Is this the water into your house or an irrigation system?

Obviously, if you can, turn off the water to these pipes to let the ground dry out. If you cannot, just start digging and be prepared to get dirty.

This is very much a DIY project, if you're so inclined
 
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Old 02-16-11, 03:56 PM
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The pipe is blue which I think are polybutylene pipes? We turned off water to the house but the meter was still spinning so we're pretty sure its somewhere on the pipe into our house. Me and my girlfriend spent the afternoon digging a trench with a pick mattock following the pipe starting from the water meter and are approaching the driveway and still haven't found the leak. Tomorrow we're going to keep digging but still haven't figured out exactly how we're going to dig under the driveway or fix the leak if we find it. I'm guessing the repair method will depend on whether its a loose joint or if its a hole.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 04:05 PM
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How can the meter be spinning if the water to the house is turned off?

If the meter is spinning, this has to be water which has passed through the meter already, a leak on the street side of the meter would not affect the meter

Keep digging, we'll deal with the leak being under the driveway if we get there, it may not be - are you sure that's also the only pipe in the area?
 
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Old 02-16-11, 04:10 PM
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Since you have the pipe exposed at the meter they should lower the price alittle. No need to trench to replace, They should be able to pull a line without anymore excavation.

Using this. If they dont know find someone who does. We charge $4000 here in jersey to replace services.

Splits copper and poly and pulls the new pipe behind it.

Trenchless Service* Line Replacement


But if you find the leak use a this type fitting and make sure its the correct size. such as ips,pep..ect. CTS is almost the same size and its hard to tell the difference. (youll get leaks.)

http://www.aymcdonald.com/GenInfo/wa...Fittings07.pdf
Mike NJ
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 02-16-11 at 06:02 PM.
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Old 02-16-11, 04:31 PM
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I should've clarified, the water was on at the meter but turned off in the house so somewhere between the meter and the house there's a leak that's not in the house (i.e. not a toilet or something). I just turned on the water on the meter after all that digging and its leaking in the trench, we must have hit the pipe too hard and made a hole or something. Current plan is to use duct tape until we can get a more permanent solution.
 
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Old 02-16-11, 06:10 PM
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As you get closer to the pipe the water will fill the trench faster.

Yes I know what you mean. The poly from the meter at the street to the house. If you find the leak repair with the fitting I described below.

If the leak is under the driveway have them replace the line without trenching as I gave the link below.

If you have the meter end of the pipe exposed all they have to do is cut the house side, run the cable through the old pipe from house to meter, put the new pipe on the end of the wedge tool thats in the house, and pull the cable with a truck at the meter side. The new pipe will follow the old pipe as the wedge cuts the old pipe while being pulled. Connect the meter side, house side, fill the hole and done.

$1900 is cheap.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 02-16-11, 06:46 PM
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Hi lawrosa, thanks for the help but is that for copper/metal piping? The pipe I'm working on is some sort of plastic I'm pretty sure
 
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Old 02-16-11, 08:39 PM
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Yes poly(plastic) or copper. Its for any pipe. It splits the old pipe as it pulls the new pipe. (Not for galv. pipe) Although I used it for galv and managed to pull the whole pipe out of the ground with a Hummer.

Here is another example.

Water Line Replacement Tool

Another.

Model: Water Line Slitters

Mike NJ
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 02-16-11 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 02-21-11, 03:24 PM
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So I found the leak! It was at a joint right before the driveway. Here's a picture of it:



Now the question is, how do I fix this? The pipe is unmarked as far as we can tell but we were able to find a small barcode on the joint which says "Water Whiz. Water, Gas, Compressed Air, 73* F". I measured the diameter of the pipe to be 1 1/4". I originally thought that the pipe must be something besides pvc because its colored blue and is really flexible but I heard that there is flexible pvc? I assume if its pvc I can just saw off the leaking parts, put a small piece of pipe between them and join them with a straight coupling correct?
 
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Old 02-21-11, 04:39 PM
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You need to find markings to see if Copper tube size or iron pipe size page 7 here. http://www.plasticpipe.com.cn/blog/peguide.pdf

Then use this type of fitting. Look under water sevice fittings.
A.Y. McDonald Mfg. Co. : Water Service Products

Mike NJ
 
 

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