Finding a leak?


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Old 02-27-18, 04:23 AM
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Finding a leak?

My house has a well, pump, and pressure tank. Recently I've started hearing the pump kick on and run several times a day at times when no one has been running water. Seems like there's got to be a leak somewhere. I've checked all the faucets, including outside, and none are dripping; and have looked at the exposed pipe junctions that I can see around the pressure tank. Any clues as to how I can figure out what's going on here?
 
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Old 02-27-18, 04:52 AM
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The first thing to check are the toilets. Make sure water is not leaking past the flapper valve. Do you hear the toilet filling randomly when nobody has used the toilet? You can also put food coloring in the tank and if you see the color in the bowl it means water is leaking past the flapper valve.
 
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Old 02-27-18, 05:18 AM
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Thnx for the suggestion, Pilot Dane. I have checked the toilets as you suggest. They seem to be fine. Still looking for more ideas...
 
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Old 02-27-18, 05:43 AM
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Tom-

You should have a shutoff valve after the pressure tank, that is, on the house side of the pressure tank. There should also be a pressure gauge near the tank. Close that shutoff valve and record the pressure and also shut off the pump.

If there is a leak between the pump and the pressure tank the pressure on the gauge will eventually drop. If there are no leaks the reading should remain steady.
 
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Old 02-27-18, 09:59 AM
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Looks like the leak (or whatever) is in the house. The pressure did not drop with the main shut-off valve closed. So now I need to figure out a way to locate it...
 
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Old 02-27-18, 11:52 AM
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Look in the cabinets underneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks. You'll be able to see a small bit of the plumbing there.

Does your house have a crawl space or basement? If so go underneath and look for water. You can also walk around the outside of your house where the walls meet the foundation and look for wet spots.
 
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Old 02-27-18, 12:01 PM
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(This is really weird, happened several times I type a post up and start to post and see that Pilot Dane made one while I was typing,lol but here it is anyway.)

Im no plumber or expert. The only thing I can think of is what Pilot Dane pointed to the toilets are the culprits many times.

Do any pipes go under the house in a crawl space? Any pipes going through a slab? (I think the leaks in a slab are the worst.) Any pipes running through an attic?

Do you have any shutoffs for parts of the house so that you could isolate parts of the house?

If you have copper Ive heard of pinhole leaks that could be spraying water inside the wall. However, I dont know how long it would take before the wall collapsed in that case or before you saw clear indications of water damage.

Any kind of water treatment equipment that connects to a drain and does automatic backwash? A real stretch but maybe if some of that equipment started to get flaky you could be using water when not expected.

One thing though, I think many times the toilet leaks are so slow that you can look at the tank and bowl and not see any water movement at all. But put red dye in the tank and come back hours later and lo and behold you see the red dye in the bowl indicating a leak. Just a thought.
 
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Old 02-27-18, 03:23 PM
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if the leak is not evident you will need to start closing valves on the runs if they exist or on the toilets and faucets to see if you can isolate the leak
 
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Old 02-27-18, 05:07 PM
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Thanks everyone. I'm afraid I've looked at all visible pipes & checked the toilets w/ food coloring. There are no separate run shut-offs to isolate. (Small house). I suppose there may somehow be a small leak in some inaccessible space. I might have to wait til I see evidence of water damage...Any other ideas? I was hoping that someone would tell me about a new-fangled device that can somehow sense the location and find leaks even in inaccessible places...
 
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Old 02-28-18, 01:34 AM
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There are no separate run shut-offs to isolate.

Each toilet should have a valve!
 
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Old 02-28-18, 03:18 AM
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Shut water off at pump house after pump and pressure tank and see it pump keeps cycling.
 
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Old 02-28-18, 04:01 AM
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Good point, Marq1. I meant shut-offs to branches of the plumbing. I have tested for toilet leaking w/ dye, but at this point I think your idea is good and will check them that way.
 
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Old 02-28-18, 04:04 AM
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Thnx pugsl. I don't have a pump house, the pressure tank is in the house, but I have tried shutting off the water where it comes out of the tank. That stopped the pump from running and the pressure stayed high. (The gauge is before the shut-off) So I guess the leak is somewhere in the system after the shut-off.
 
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Old 02-28-18, 05:21 AM
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You were asked a couple times if your house has a basement or crawl space.... does it? If so, have you gone underneath to look?
 
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Old 02-28-18, 09:43 AM
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I was hoping that someone would tell me about a new-fangled device that can somehow sense the location and find leaks even in inaccessible places...
I have seen a plumber identify an underground leak using a stethescope. He was able to hear the hiss of the leak by listening to the pipe. I'm not sure if that would work for everyone though.

You can turn off the valve to your water heater for a few hours. That will at least identify whether the leak is on the hot or cold side.

How large a leak are we talking about? How often does the pump run when you're not using water?
 
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Old 02-28-18, 10:48 AM
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Similar problem

Wish I had the "final answer". Not intending to cause panic either.

Following this thread because we had the same situation at our summer home last year. We also did the same troubleshooting mentioned here but found nothing.

Although we weren't able to solve it before our last trip, someone did mention the possibility of a bad foot valve (or check valve) in the submersible pump under ground above the submersible pump. Or a hole in the drop pipe, also underground. We're hoping that's not our issue. Making a trip next month and already have a service call planned.
 
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Old 02-28-18, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
You were asked a couple times if your house has a basement or crawl space.... does it? If so, have you gone underneath to look?
Sorry Pilot Dane. We do not have a crawl space; the basement is finished. I have looked at all visible pipes.
 
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Old 03-01-18, 08:10 AM
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Possible cause?

Interesting reading for sure. Especially when you get to "How to Tell if The Pressure Switch is Failing"

https://www.rgwater.com/signs-of-a-b...ure-switch.php
 
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Old 03-02-18, 04:31 AM
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Yes, that is interesting Steverino. That (a problem with the pressure switch) might be it. I wonder whether it is also possible that the submersible pump in the well could be leaking? Maybe it's time to call in an expert.
 
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Old 03-02-18, 09:48 AM
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TomVZ: The pressure switch was another possibility brought up by a friend who has some insight into these things, but we never had the time to check at our summer home. Our tank seems to be kicking in and out at the right settings but you never know. We'll be calling in an expert on our first trip up. He should be able to troubleshoot one step at a time, hopefully discounting problems with the submersible pump, any foot valves, check valves, etc.

Keeping our fingers crossed for both of us.
 
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Old 03-02-18, 07:07 PM
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Check valve leaking??

Maybe there is a check valve that is slowly allowing water to leak back down into the well.
 
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Old 05-01-18, 01:38 PM
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Check valve

TomVZ: Wondering if you ever got your problem solved?

We had a pump/well guy out to our summer home last week. Confirmed it was the check valve at the bottom of the submersible pump in the well. (Sometimes called a foot valve). Simple troubleshooting method was to close the feed to the house and stare at the pressure gauge. I was going to try that myself (as zoesdad suggested in an earlier post) but the fellow was nice enough to come out to check a few other things at no charge.

As "luck" would have it. the debris that kept the check valve from completely closing must have been flushed out as the pump doesn't kick in like it did last November before we closed up. Could also be corrosion at the check valve.

If it gets any worse we'll have him come out and replace the check valve. Only a $200.00 job, part and labor.

For the record, the "pitless adapter" /seal could also be leaking. (At the top of the well casing where the pipe goes from the well into the house).

Steverino
 
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Old 08-19-18, 02:54 PM
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I realize this is an ancient thread, but it would be great if original posters would come back and fill us in on what was done to resolve the problem.

For our summer home, it was definitely the check valve. The submersible (Myers) pump has it built in, so we had a new check valve installed in the draw pipe just above the submersible pump. Did the trick. Fortunately they were able to pull the pump by hand...no need for a rig. Hour and a half and less than $200.00 for materials and labor.

Cheers
 
 

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