Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

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Schag
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Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by Schag »

I got my water bill this month and saw that it was triple what it usually is.
Went and looked at the meter and saw that it was spinning and calculated that I had a leak of about 850 gallons per day.
Apparently, this has been leaking for a while.
I looked all over the yard where I know I have water pipes, and didn't find any evidence of a leak.
I looked all through the house, turned off the feeds to the toilets and water heater and the meter was still running.
I crawled under the house and it was bone dry. No flowing water to be found.
The Water Co. Came out and found nothing wrong with the meter.
I can't find any evidence of a leak anywhere.
It's obvious that I should have a pond in my yard at least 25,000 gallons.

Without digging up my entire yard, is there any way to find where the water is going?
Do I have a cave, complete with a dragon, just waiting to open up and swallow my house?
I'm totally baffled at this point.
There should be a swampy area or a stream of flowing water somewhere, but I'm damned if I can find it.
Help!!!

eclecticcottage
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by eclecticcottage »

If the meter is turning, can't imagine it's in your yard, unless yours is different than either of ours were. Ours were inside and only plumbing to the house was after it. That's a LOT of water to have running somewhere with no evidence. Our tub leaked for years in the wall and down below the floor (between the slab and floors, where the sleepers were). You'd never have known, except the floor finally rotted out and created a spongy spot. I'd get a moisture meter and start looking at places where pipes are hidden. And try shutting off the water at the meter and see if it stops. Do you have any other shut offs?
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cs
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by cs »

What EC said is correct - unless your meter is not in your house. I assume it is... but if not, than digging up your yard may be the only way to find it. That's a pain... but if the break is in the yard, you'll want to replace the entire pipe anyway. Sadly, I speak from experience.

If the meter IS in the house, then obviously the water is going somewhere... most likely back down the drain (but you indicated that you checked the toilets). Other possibilities might be an outdoor faucet or irrigation system. Can you shut off sections of your plumbing one at a time - bathrooms, kitchen, laundry area, out door faucets, etc until you see the usage stop?

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utopia13
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by utopia13 »

What happens when you shut off the water main? Right off my meter...inside the house is my main feed. I can't try it now to see what happens, since I'm at work, but it seems if you kill the main feed...and you still have a spinning meter, the leak is between the meter & the main....wherever those pipes may be at your place.

Hope you find it! This sounds like a real PITA :evil:
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nezwick
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by nezwick »

What a coincidence - I'm actually going through this right now. Our water meter has gone haywire and the last three water bills have shown us using ~8000 gallons per month! Our typical usage is ~3500 or less. I would know if there was a leak that big inside the house, but there is no water anywhere.

The muni authority is supposed to come this Wednesday to replace the meter. If the leak is in the yard, it would not make the meter count up - though I'm sure it would make its way into my basement!

Good luck finding the cause!
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Neighmond
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by Neighmond »

Don't you have maids' quarters behind your garage? If they are plumbed is the water running there and being disbursed?
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jade mortimer
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by jade mortimer »

argh....i would think the water company would have an infrared camera (or a device that can 'see through' the earth) to search the ground/house for the leak...if they don't have one, what about contacting someone who does energy efficiency house testing or even investing in a 'gun' yourself?

good luck, i hope it's not as bad as you imagine......
....jade

jeepnstein
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by jeepnstein »

That's bad news. Shut off the water to the house and see if the meter quits spinning. I'm betting it doesn't. Hey, it's better than having to deal with this in January.

You know what the best plan of attack is on this although I can understand not wanting to do it. You need to put in a new water line. The digging is a real hassle but if you plan on replacing the whole thing you can just rent a small hoe and be done with it in a day.

I know the temptation is great to just fix the leak. And you may get away with it. But you'll have to dig out the entire thing to make sure it's only one leak anyway so you might as well go all in. You don't have to be nearly as cautious with the hoe when you know the water line is going to be replaced.
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by Schag »

Neighmond wrote:Don't you have maids' quarters behind your garage? If they are plumbed is the water running there and being disbursed?
Yes, this is where my last leak was.
I also figured that this might be the issue again when I remembered that there is a sewer line right beside the water line.
It's possible that the leak is just seeping right into the sewer pipe.
That's why I can't find any wet spots.

I dug a bit yesterday, thinking that I might be able to find/fix the leak.
Didn't find it, and can't just cap off that line on my own.
It's iron piping, not copper, and I don't have the knowledge or equipment to even think of doing it myself.

Calling in a plumber to get pro help.
I'm going to have him cap off the line below where I hope the leak is.

michaelskis
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Re: Big water leak...a complete freaking mystery!

Post by michaelskis »

Do you have an old well or point that might be connected to your regular waterlines? I know a guy who ended up filling up his well (on accident) with city water. He did not catch it until the bill came.
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