Suspect you may have a water leak underground? At bluefrog Plumbing + Drain, our team has the skill, experience, and equipment to fix the problem quickly.
Unfortunately, leaks that occur underground can be particularly difficult for homeowners to identify. And, as a result, underground water line leaks often go unnoticed until they have already caused extensive damage.
However, it’s still possible to catch these problems with your plumbing system early and safeguard your property from frustrating issues. In this blog, we share practical tips on how to detect a water leak underground, plus helpful advice on the steps you can take to return your home to normal should a leak erupt.
What Is a Water Leak?
A water leak happens when water escapes from a pipe, fixture, or appliance and often flows into spaces it is not meant to be. These leaks can range from minor drips to significant flows of water.
Some water leaks are easy to catch. However, those that occur underground can be challenging to detect as they don’t typically leave behind visible evidence.
The most common causes of underground water leaks include the following:
- Tree Roots: Roots of nearby trees seeking moisture can infiltrate your underground water lines, exerting pressure on them until they develop cracks. The roots can also block water flow and cause frustrating plumbing problems.
- Corrosion: Factors such as imbalanced pH levels and the use of harsh chemical drain cleaners can cause water pipes to corrode. When they do, they become more susceptible to bursting or cracking, leading to leaks.
- Environmental Factors: As your underground pipes are outdoors, they’re constantly exposed to environmental elements. Unfortunately, ground settlement, shifting soil, and freezing and thawing cycles can stress and damage them until they leak.
How To Detect a Water Leak Underground: 3 Steps To Take
Here are three simple and actionable steps you can take right now to know if it’s time for a water line repair.
STEP 1: Turn Off All Water Fixtures
Ensure no water is running inside or outside your home by turning off your main valve.
STEP 2: Check the Water Meter
Once the water has been shut off, check your water meter. It is typically found in a utility box near the street or on your property.
A water meter that continues to detect water flow even with your supply turned off may indicate you’re dealing with an underground leak.
You may also observe the water meter’s leak indicator, which is often a small triangle that spins when water is being used. This indicator should be still while your main water valve is still shut off.
STEP 3: Wait and Recheck
If your water meter does not have a leak indicator, another method is to record your water meter reading.
Write down your water meter reading and leave all water fixtures off for a few hours. Afterward, recheck the reading. A change in the reading is a strong indicator you have a leak somewhere underground.
Watch Out for the Signs of Underground Leaks
If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to enlist professional water leak detection services as soon as possible:
A Sudden Increase in Your Water Bill
A significant and unexplained spike in your water bill could indicate an underground leak.
Damp or Soggy Areas
Persistent dampness, soggy spots, or unexplained puddles in your yard, even during dry weather, are all possible signs of an underground leak. On the bright side, while these are a nuisance, they also give you the general location of the plumbing problem.
Reduced Water Pressure
While low water pressure in a single tap often indicates a localized problem, a sudden drop in water pressure throughout your home can suggest a leak in the main water line.
Mold or Mildew Growth
Unusual mold or mildew growth indoors can result from moisture caused by an underground leak.
If your home is over 30 years old and you don’t remember repairing or replacing your underground water lines, it’s likely that they have already corroded or broken down due to age.
Having your plumbing system inspected before problems arise is critical to protecting your property from unchecked water damage.
The Importance of Professional Water Leak Detection Services
While knowing how to detect a water leak underground is helpful, enlisting professionals to locate and assess the problem with your pipes offers several advantages.
Professional plumbers use specialized leak detection equipment like thermal imaging cameras and acoustic leak detectors to pinpoint the exact location of underground leaks. This means they can also find the leaky pipe quickly and get the water line repairs done as soon as possible.
Should the damage be too severe for repairs, certified professionals can also assess whether a replacement is necessary. Most importantly, you can count on them to efficiently replace your underground lines without destroying your yard.
What To Do If You Suspect an Underground Water Leak
The more time elapses, the more water from leaking underground pipes will wreak havoc on your property. For example, simple puddles in your lawn may eventually become problematic sinkholes, compromising your home’s foundation.
With this, it’s crucial that you seek professional help the moment you notice the telltale signs of underground water leaks. Even if you simply suspect you have a leak or are unsure where the problem is, don’t hesitate to call the experts at bluefrog Plumbing + Drain immediately.
As your reliable plumbers, we use modern equipment and proven methods to detect the leak source and perform thorough repairs to ensure the problem doesn’t reoccur. Best of all, we’re here to assist you in restoring both your underground water lines and your home.
Early detection and prompt action can save you from major headaches down the road. Call your nearest bluefrog Plumbing + Drain team, and let our experts help you avoid stressful plumbing problems and return your home to normal.