Telling If You Have a Broken Water Line

Published: 30th April 2010
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Not all broken water lines result in water leaking from the ceiling. Even if you can't find any visual signs that something is wrong, that doesn't mean there isn't a leaky pipe somewhere in your home. Jolly Plumbing owner Barry Jolly is a well-respected entrepreneur with more than 31 years of experience in the plumbing business. Using the expertise he developed, here, he gives us his advice on how to tell if you have a broken water line in your home.





If you've noticed a sudden increase in your water bill or puddles forming in your yard when it's not raining, you may have a leaking or broken water line. However, things don't always work out like that. There's often a chance that you might have a problem with your water line, but you don't even know it.





Sudden Increased Water Bill


Water lines can crack or deteriorate from a variety of unavoidable environmental conditions, and most people don't realize that maintenance of the water line, which runs from your house to the street, is the homeowner's responsibility. A lot of times, when people call and ask me how they can tell if there is a water line break somewhere in their home, that is because they have noticed a spike in their water bill. If you always have a fairly level water bill, and then all of a sudden the cost seems a lot higher, there may be a broken line inside or outside your home.





DIY Checking


If you suspect that there might be a leak in your line somewhere between the meter on the street and your house, there is an easy way to determine what is going on, which doesn't take much time or expertise. To check it for yourself, go down to the main water shutoff valve in your house - usually in the basement - and shut that valve completely off. Then, go out to the meter that's located on the street, open it, and look inside. If your meter is still moving, that means you have a leak somewhere between your house and the meter. And that leak is probably located in your water line underground.





Faulty Pipes


People usually want to know what will cause the leak in the first place. In fact, different factors can be at play. Most of the time, the leak problem has to do with a faulty pipe. Another issue can be the type of the pipe that is used in the house. The type of piping called Blue Max pipe was commonly used pretty much all the time about 10 or 15 years ago. Unfortunately, it turns out that it was a notoriously poor pipe. There was actually a big lawsuit over it, and a lot of people replaced their water lines with new piping for free at the time.





If you live in a home that was built in the 1990s, there is a good chance that your water service could be made from Blue Max pipe. And unless you were a part of that initial lawsuit, you probably still have those same pipes in place right now. If so, the pipe will leak eventually even if it hasn't started already. It is just a matter of time for it to start causing you problems, so I recommend people go ahead and work on getting it replaced as soon as they can.





Freezing Temperatures


If you don't have the Blue Max piping and your lines are fairly new, the temperature outside might be another reason. Freezing temperatures can cause problems for people's water lines, especially if the water line piping was not buried deep enough in the ground when it was initially installed. In addition, it is far more common for age to be the issue. For the most part, the reason why pipes have problems running from the water meter to the house just has to do with age, as old pipes or faulty pipes break over time.





At Jolly Plumbing, we specialize in waterline repairs, so you can rest assured that your waterline will be serviced by experienced professionals. Whether you suspect you have a problem with your waterline or want to run a routine inspection, we have the expertise and knowledge to get the job done in a thorough, timely and cost-effective manner. For more information or to schedule a free inspection, please contact us today.





Barry Jolly is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a plumber or more plumbing articles at Yodle Local.







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