If you are reading this, it is quite likely that you suspect that you may have an underground water leak at your home. This unfortunate event is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Underground water leaks – sometimes identified as a “slab leak” – are leakage in the water pipes that run directly underneath the home. Not only are these difficult to detect, but they have the capability of causing massive amounts of damage. In this guide, we will outline how to tell if you have an underground water leak so that if this issue develops – or HAS developed – you may quickly move towards a resolution.

underground leaks

What are Common Causes of Underground Water Leaks?

Underground water leaks may occur for a number of reasons. The following outlines the most common culprits:

  1. Water Line Clogs – Generally speaking, clogged water lines are not considered to be of the highest level of urgency; that is, unless it occurs under your home and causes a leak. In some instances, a clog (which may be sediment in your water or even an accumulation of household chemicals) will result in a buildup of pressure within a water line. When this happens, it may strain the pipe and result in either a burst pipe or a seal becoming disconnected. When either occurs, an underground leak will occur.
  2. Corrosion – As the pipes in your plumbing system age, rust and other corrosive metals may start to eat away at the pipes. In turn, this may – eventually – cause a crack or hole to form. Then, the water moving through that pipe will start to seep out.
  3. Underground Movements – There are many situations where the ground where your home is located may start to move. These include the natural settling of the soil, tree roots growing, excessive rain, and earthquakes. When underground movements start to occur, pipes may become damaged and may start to leak.
  4. Tree Roots – Despite being mentioned above in the underground movements, we feel it is important to outline that tree roots – which may not result in underground movements – can also result in the development of an underground leak. These roots may start to grow around underground pipes and damage them, resulting in leaks.
  5. Incorrect Pipe Installation – Many times, underground leaks are simply a case of incorrect pipe installation. The water is required to flow directly against the force of gravity. They must be laid properly to do this and special backflow devices must be in place. If these steps are not taken, you will – eventually – develop an underground water leak.

What are the Signs of an Underground Leak?

The truth of the matter is it is actually a bit difficult to detect an underground water leak. In fact, in most cases, the leak is present for quite a while prior to being detected. The following signs will aid in pinpointing a potentially devastating leak that may indicate water is leaking under your home:

  1. Unusual Sounds in Pipes – If you hear splashing, hissing, and clinking noises, you may have an underground leak. The frequency and the overall intensity of the sounds will depend upon how deep the pipe is underground.
  2. Low Water Pressure – If a leak develops underground, you will find that you have a decrease in the water pressure throughout your home.
  3. Lawn Issues – In some instances, underground water leaks may result in the development of brown and dying grass, the development of potholes or sinkholes, and the ponding of water. In some instances, patches of bright green, thick grass may start to grow.
  4. Utility Bill Increase – If you have an underground leak, you may find that your utility bills increase. These may include a water bill, an electric bill, or even your gas bill (depending on how your water is heated.) If you notice a spike in charges and cannot locate any other culprit, it is likely that you have an underground leak.
  5. Tap Water Problems – When an underground water leak occurs, it is common for homeowners to notice problems with their tap water. The two most common are air or dirt in the water. If you notice either of these issues, it is time to call a professional.
  6. Odor – If there is an underground leak, eventually you may come to find that you observe an unusual and/or unpleasant odor. This is likely because the excess moisture has caused mold to develop.
  7. Foundation – If an underground leak is not detected immediately, it could result in damage to the foundation of your home. If you notice cracks in the foundation or along the walls, you should address it immediately.
  8. Water Pump or Well – If you have a water pump or well at your home, you may discover that it continues to run on a consistent level. This is a sure sign that an underground leak has developed.
  9. Cracked Concrete – If you have a concrete sidewalk, driveway, floor, etc. and an underground leak occurs, you may quickly discover that the concrete starts to crack, crumble, and give way.
  10. Sewage Smells – Finally, a sure sign of an underground leak is the development of sewer smells.

DIY Tests

There are a couple of different things that you may do to determine if you have an underground water leak. First, you may test for a main line leak. Simply turn off all of the faucets, locate the water meter, and shine a light on it. If it is digital, you will see a flash above zero. If it is analog, you will see a small triangle dial, or a silver wheel. If it is moving, you have a leak.

To test to see if a sewer water line is leaking, get some dye, pour it down the toilet, and flush. After about 30 minutes to an hour, go outside where you think a leak may be happening and see if you see any dye. If you find through these DIY tests that you have a water leak, turn off the water supply to your home (if you are able to) and immediately call a plumber.

Underground Leak Detection and Location Services

We here at Reynolds Plumbing offer comprehensive underground leak detection and location services. The following outlines the most common ways to discover and locate an underground water leak:

  1. Acoustic Leak Detection – This technique utilizes sensitive microphone systems to listen for water noises or the sounds of pipework that’s been compromised.
  2. Leak Noise Correlation – This uses sensors, a recording device, and then transmission to a processing unit. In short, the electronic devices evaluate pressurized pipes and then use an algorithm to confirm a leak and determine its location.
  3. Trace Gas Detection – This strategy pressurizes gas through pipes and a gas detector is used to determine if a leak is occurring.
  4. Thermal Imaging – With this technique, a camera is used to show differences in temperatures around underground pipes in order to capture a leak.

Contact Us Now

If you feel as if you may have an underground leak at your home, seek help immediately. We here at Reynolds Plumbing are capable of quickly identifying an underground leak, isolating it, and resolving it. We offer high-quality and fast service. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you would like to learn more about our services or need to set up an appointment to determine if you have an underground water leak, contact us immediately by calling: 765-966-0994

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