Running Water, Can't Find Leak

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Old 04-20-15, 12:58 AM
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Running Water, Can't Find Leak

Greetings. I have an issue that just started tonight and I can't figure this out. Any help would be appreciated.

I have a 2 story house with an unfinished basement. Using city water. I was about to go to bed and I heard the sound of running water in the pipes. I checked all the sinks, showers (2), and the toilets for running water. All were dry and showed no water running. I checked the meter from the city water and it was moving. I turned off the water to the water heater, both cold and hot. The sound did not change. I turned off the washer hot and cold taps. No change in sound and the needle kept moving. I have shutoffs for my outdoor taps, they are off (I even went outside and verified that the taps were off. I turned off the water to each toilet, to the fridge water, and to the humidifier connected to the furnace (which is off), and the dish washer. Still have the sound of running water and the needle is moving.

I verified that there is nothing leaking under the sinks and around the walls of both showers. Nothing is wet. I can turn off the water to the house after the water gauge and the gauge stops, but I can hear the water in the pipes lose pressure. The majority of the pipes, besides those that go through the walls to the second floor are easy to view. I see no water or leaking on the pipes. No drywall on the ceilings or floors show signs of leakage. I am not sure why this would suddenly happen. The weather has been very nice, in the upper 60s and the house has stayed about 70, so no freezing of the water pipes.

I turned all the water shutoffs back on and returned pressure from the city water. The pipes re-pressurize and the leak sound is still there. I turned of the city water again, and the shower heads are allowing air to re-enter the pipes. Besides getting a FLIR camera to look for cold spots to maybe find a leak, is there anything else I can do? I am not sure how long the water had been running. I have had a burst pipe before at another place, and water was everywhere! This time, I see nothing that would indicate a broken pipe. Oh, the house is about 16 years old and I have been here about 7 years. No remodeling has been done either.

Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 04-20-15, 05:47 AM
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Do you have a sprinkler system for the grass? If so, look at the pit box or shut the valve for that alone. If that doesn't solve it, put on a pair of gloves, in case you touch something hot & feel for a vibration in the pipes. A noise = a vibration. The problem has to be on the lowest level.
 
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Old 04-20-15, 06:22 AM
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I hate to say it but I use the FLIR to find difficult leaks. It's downright magical in it's abilities if you know how to use it.

You said you turned the water off after the water gauge. Where is that shutoff located?

You can try a stethoscope to listen at various places around the house to try and locate the source of the sound. I would also look carefully at the construction of your home for places where water could leak and not be visible. If your basement walls are cement block it's possible water is draining down inside the block. Try going around the entire perimeter of the house inside and out looking at the sill plate, maybe you'll spot water draining out of a wall.
 
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Old 04-20-15, 06:26 AM
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Put some red food coloring in the toilet bowl to see if it leaks down into the bowl.
Make sure the plastic tube from the flush valve is above not inside the siphon tube.
Is there a water softner?
 
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Old 04-20-15, 06:42 AM
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Leak

Tell us the location of your water meter and the location of the shut-off valve at the meter.
 
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Old 04-20-15, 03:56 PM
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The city water comes into the house from the street through the basement floor. There is a turn off above and below the water gauge (about 3 to 4 feet up the water pipe). I turned off the the water above the water gauge.

I do not have a sprinkler system - inside or outside, so no issues there. The issue is not outside but inside the house.

I turned off the water to all the toilet tanks, so there was no question it was not a toilet. I have replaced the flappers and fill valves in them before.

It was raining last night, so I could not tell if water was coming from under the siding.

I have a water softener, but it is not being used and is in bypass.

I have a poured basement. No water on the inside walls. No sagging drywall on the ceilings and no water around the lights (recessed) or the ceiling fans. No wet areas on the walls or floors.

Now for the real puzzle. I turned the main water on this morning (all needed water valves turned on ie.. toilet, hot water heater, fridge) and there is no sound of running water. I spent 2 hours last night checking, rechecking, re-rechecking everything and it never stopped. This morning, it was fine! I don't get it. I was not able to bring home a FLIR from work today, so I will have to try that later. But why has the water sound stopped? I am baffled!
 
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Old 04-20-15, 07:10 PM
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Hi, Just a guess but check the water softener. Maybe the bypass is leaking and sending water down a drain in the softener system.
Good Luck woodbutcher
 
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Old 04-20-15, 09:26 PM
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Thanks for the thought Woodbutcher. The softener system is empty and the over flow is dry.
 
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