A broken water line isn't always as obvious as a waterfall streaming down your living room wall. Such leaks can sometimes prove difficult to locate. If you suspect that you have a broken or leaking water line, you must act swiftly to curtail the associated damage and expense. Know where to look and how to identify the symptoms.
Water bills through the roof
If you receive a massive water bill or one that seems slightly above normal, it should raise a red flag that you might have a problem. Unless your neighbor filled his pool with your water hose, chances are that your home has developed a leak somewhere.
Homes on the municipal water supply are connected to a water meter. Verify that no water is running in your home and then check the gauges in the meter box. Typical water meters will have a red triangle located in the center of the gauge. The triangle spins when water is passing through the meter. If everything is turned off in your home, the triangle should remain stationary. If it is spinning out of control or even moving ever so slightly, you have a leak.
If your meter does not have a red triangular indicator, take a photo of the meter readings. After an hour or so, compare the readings on the meter with those of your photo. If the readings are different, you have a leak.
Look for wet or soggy areas
Inspect the area around your home's exterior plumbing pipes. Areas that remain wet or soggy even in the driest weather might indicate a leak.
Determine the path your water line takes to your home, and inspect this area thoroughly. A major leak or a broken water line can be easy to find, but slower leaks will be more difficult to locate.
Check for dampness
Damp areas in your home might indicate a leaking or broken pipe. Flooring and walls are highly susceptible to wet or damp conditions. Mold and mildew growing on your drywall is an indication of moisture. Sometimes a minor leak in your plumbing can cause this. Damp spots on your floor might indicate a slab leak. If your floor has a warm spot, it could be a sign that your hot-water line is leaking below the slab.
Being aware of broken water line symptoms allows you to identify a problem quickly, minimizing the potential damage it might cause. When you suspect a problem but cannot locate it, hire a licensed plumbing contractor experienced in leak detection. Such professionals employ highly trained individuals who use specialized detection equipment to locate and repair the leak quickly.
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