AR15.Com Archives
 Water Leak Between Meter and House Valve
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/12/2008 9:00:41 PM
Hello,

I have a water leak in between the meter and the main shut off valve in the house. My house is on a slab. Is this something for the DIY guy/gal? If so, I assume I dig up the line and find the leak first. Once found do I just repair that part? Or do I replace the entire line? What if I find the leak is under the slab, that dos not seem like a good thing at all.

Right now I am losing about 10-15 THouSAnd gallons a month, compared to previous years bills.

Thanks for your help.
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cvanbrunt  [Team Member]
2/12/2008 10:14:31 PM
Are you talking about the valve that the city uses to turn your water on/off or the valve right before the house?
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/12/2008 10:28:51 PM

Originally Posted By cvanbrunt:
Are you talking about the valve that the city uses to turn your water on/off or the valve right before the house?


The leak is in between the city's meter and the shut off valve inside my house.
cvanbrunt  [Team Member]
2/12/2008 10:31:17 PM
First step would be to locate the leak. If its outside, depending on the type of pipe used it could be a simple fix with 5$ worth of parts. If its in the slab, it will probably be a pretty big PITA.
FrankSymptoms  [Team Member]
2/12/2008 10:35:19 PM

Originally Posted By The_Watcher:
Hello,

I have a water leak in between the meter and the main shut off valve in the house. My house is on a slab. Is this something for the DIY guy/gal?


It depends on how "DIY" you really are. There's likely to be a lot of digging to be done. It CAN be done by a homeowner, I've done worse jobs, but have you ever done any plumbing at all?

If so, I assume I dig up the line and find the leak first. Once found do I just repair that part?

Probably, you will want to be able to cut the line and install a double threaded union, not a coupler. This means cutting the line, putting threads on each end of the cut, and then installing the union.



Or do I replace the entire line? What if I find the leak is under the slab, that dos not seem like a good thing at all.

Leak under the slab means cutting the slab up with a cutting wheel or jackhammer.

Right now I am losing about 10-15 THouSAnd gallons a month, compared to previous years bills.

Thanks for your help.



any way you look at it you'll be saving tons of money doing it yourself... BUT: IF you don't feel comfortable doing the work, get a plumber.
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/12/2008 11:21:37 PM
Sure I have done plumbing, nothing in the walls, but have installed supply line to fridge , changed faucets. About to repace all toilets in the house. I am no expert but am not afraid to jump in.

Man, I relly hope this in not under slab.
chad504  [Member]
2/13/2008 7:50:22 AM
Not a tough job, just a pain in the butt sometimes. If it were me, I would start looking at the meter. I have had problems several times, where the tube the meter sits in, gets shifted down, especially in wet weather, and breaks the line coming out of the meter. When the ground gets damp, and someone drives across it, or even a riding mower, it can cause the shift. Also, a piece of 1/4" or smaller rod, with a rounded end, or a ball bearing welded onto the end, will help find soft areas. just start poking the ground around the path, feeling for a place where the ground in noticeably softer. Also, a t-handle on the other end of the rod helps, if you can weld.
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/13/2008 7:56:45 AM
Well, I woke up this morning and it is raining. Guess I need to wait to find the leak
hsvhobbit  [Team Member]
2/13/2008 8:28:39 AM
With a leak of THAT magnitude it outta be trivial to find. When it's dry/semi-dry where's the massive lake between your house and the water main?

If you don't have a VERY noticible wet spot in your yard, then I'd have a nasty concern that it's under your slab , lucky you.

As mentioned, the repair in that case involves busting concrete and hunting. Alternative to that is just run another line tied in at the point where the supply line enters your house under the slab.

What I'd consider also is if you're REALLY lucky, maybe your meter is bad, seriously, a 15K gallon leak is a hell of a leak.
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/13/2008 9:20:15 AM
Well, I made some assumptions last night. I had two leaking faucets, the bad one was replaced monday, the other was going to be replaced this sunday. So those "might play a role in how bad the leak seemed.

I have turned off the shut off valve inside the house and took a reading at the meter. I will check that reading in 15 minutes and calculate the gallons being lost per day/week/month, etc.

This will give me a better and at least more accurate idea of the leak size.

On a side note, I had my 66 Dart parked next to my house over where the water line runs, I just moved it and noticed a soft spot about 5'x6' where the ground seems more wet than the rest.(we had rain last night so all the ground is wet)

I will post the update.
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/13/2008 9:50:47 AM
So the meter read .96 gallon lost in 15 minutes.

So

.96 x 4 = 3.84 gallons per hour

3.84 x 24 = 92.16 gallons per day

92.16 x 30 = 2764.8 gallons per 30 days.

That might explain why there is no noticeable puddle outside"crosses fingars"


So based on that, I must have a leak inside the house as well

Too bad I cannot get out the shovel right now.
TheShield  [Member]
2/13/2008 2:43:17 PM

I'm a littel confused by your posts. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I always thought water meters were always inside the house? I'm having a hard time picturing what set up your meter has in my head.

In any case, it appears the leak is definitely after the meter. There should be a shut off valve before, AND after the meter. Once the leak is found shut BOTH off to ensure no water will get by the valves to the area you're fixing.

If you could post a pic of the meter setup it might help us know what you're dealing with.
brickeyee  [Member]
2/13/2008 4:47:20 PM

Originally Posted By TheShield:
I'm a littel confused by your posts. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I always thought water meters were always inside the house?


Many meters are at the edge of a property in a pit, in built up areas often in the strip between the curb and sidewalk.
Meters inside a house need a remote reader for billing, or periodic access to the meter.
Different areas have used both systems for many years.
TheShield  [Member]
2/13/2008 5:08:41 PM

Originally Posted By brickeyee:
Many meters are at the edge of a property in a pit, in built up areas often in the strip between the curb and sidewalk.
Meters inside a house need a remote reader for billing, or periodic access to the meter.
Different areas have used both systems for many years.


Never seen that, but now it makes sense.....Thanks.
BozemanMT  [Member]
2/13/2008 9:31:27 PM
how old is your house?
it may not be worth "fixing" the line, in the long run if it's lead or galvanized, it's better just to replace the whole thing.


and yeah, call the water dept first and make them verify the meter isn't leaking.

The_Watcher  [Member]
2/13/2008 9:35:06 PM

Originally Posted By BozemanMT:
how old is your house?
it may not be worth "fixing" the line, in the long run if it's lead or galvanized, it's better just to replace the whole thing.


and yeah, call the water dept first and make them verify the meter isn't leaking.



Constructed in 1988, looks to be pvc running from meter. All copper in house.
echos67  [Member]
2/13/2008 9:37:51 PM
There are company's that will install a product called a lateral liner, it may be perfect if you find you have a leak under the slab.
Merlin  [Team Member]
2/14/2008 7:16:01 AM
All meters should have a small flow gauge to detect almost the smallest leaks. On the meters I've seen, it's a small red triangle or delta looking thing that spins with the smallest water flow through the meter. No need to take "readings".

Shut the water down in the house by closing the house valve. Look at the meter: is there a small red triangle spinning or is it still? If it's still, you don't have a leak between the house and meter. If it is, you're forked, especially if it's under the slab.

In any event, good luck.

Merlin
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/14/2008 7:33:56 AM
Thank you merlin. I did shut off the valve(in the house) and the triangle was still spinning. I only took the reading to determine how much of a leak it was since I saw no evidence of a leak and my bills are hinting that the leak is along the lines of a 13,000 gallon a month leak.

It finally did dry up here and I found some soft ground along the line of the water line. Only problem is I cant dig/fix now till saturday. I am working 12 hour days till then.


Originally Posted By Merlin:
All meters should have a small flow gauge to detect almost the smallest leaks. On the meters I've seen, it's a small red triangle or delta looking thing that spins with the smallest water flow through the meter. No need to take "readings".

Shut the water down in the house by closing the house valve. Look at the meter: is there a small red triangle spinning or is it still? If it's still, you don't have a leak between the house and meter. If it is, you're forked, especially if it's under the slab.

In any event, good luck.

Merlin
Merlin  [Team Member]
2/14/2008 7:38:30 AM
Originally Posted By The_Watcher:
Thank you merlin. I did shut off the valve(in the house) and the triangle was still spinning. I only took the reading to determine how much of a leak it was since I saw no evidence of a leak and my bills are hinting that the leak is along the lines of a 13,000 gallon a month leak.

It finally did dry up here and I found some soft ground along the line of the water line. Only problem is I cant dig/fix now till saturday. I am working 12 hour days till then.



Ok, maybe you posted that earlier and I didn't see it.

At least the good news is that it appears its outside and not under your house/slab. PIA but not a major PIA plus crapload of $$$.

Good luck.

Merlin
nhsport  [Team Member]
2/14/2008 7:51:35 AM
Does the meter read gal or cubic feet? Not sure of the conversion but a gal is much less than a cubic foot.I believe in my neck of the woods the meters are cubic feet rated.

If the water line is bad in one place,unless you discover a good reason (driving over or such) there are likely other places ready to go and best bet is to start at the meter and replace with new all the way into the house.

Joys of home ownership! Good luck!
hsvhobbit  [Team Member]
2/14/2008 9:13:01 AM
One nice thing is that when you go to dig, the ground will be decently soft. Also, if it's PVC it's a piece of cake to fix. Just go pick up a section of the right size stuff, a handful of couplers and bottles of glue and cleaner and you're ready to rock. (I say a handful of couplers because I love to have a few spares after a plumbing job so the NEXT time I need a repair I don't have to go to the store). Oh yeah, if you don't have one already, those cutters that look like pliers are AWESOME, worth every penny of the $15-20 they cost. Trust me on this one. You can spend 10-20 min hacksawing PVC then deburring it while you're up to your sitting/lying in cold, wet mud, or you can spend 10-20 SECONDS cutting with the tool.

Fix the first leak and see if that's the whole problem. No need to worry prematurely.

Most likely, the guy installing it got sloppy with one of his joints and it finally let go.
brickeyee  [Member]
2/14/2008 1:17:02 PM

Originally Posted By hsvhobbit:

Most likely, the guy installing it got sloppy with one of his joints and it finally let go.



One of the reasons to avoid having ANY joints in a burried supply line.
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/15/2008 11:12:00 PM
So I am digging at first light.

I will most likely replace the whole line to the stub in the slab.

Is any special item needed to connect pvc to metal pipe like the one I am assuming is sticking out of the slab?


Also, what type of pvc should I use? Schedule 40 200psi @73F, Schedule 40 400psi @ 73F, or CPVC(expensive stuff) rated t 450psi @73F?

Thansk guys and I will post pix and upsdate.
brickeyee  [Member]
2/16/2008 11:07:26 AM
Find out what type of flexible plastic line is available in your area.

Type K copper used to be the 'standard'.
In large rolls with NO joints except the meter and the main valve in the house.

This is one place that plastic is probably better.
The_Watcher  [Member]
2/16/2008 7:33:05 PM
Well, I had polybutelene(sp?) so I replaced the whole line copper to copper with qwest "new and improved" polybutylene

The hardest part was the digging, next ime I will rent a ditchwitch.

Thanks for all of your help arfcom.
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