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In this article, we look at how to find a water leak underground. 

Finding a water leak underground can be tricky. Often, you won’t know that you’ve got a leaking underground pipe until you get an unusually high water bill (we’re talking 50% more or even higher). That’s a lot of money! That being said, there are other signs that you can watch out for, such as water pooling in an area on your property. 

Here’s a quick look at how to find a water leak underground: 

  1. locate your water meter
  2. turn off all taps and any appliances that use water
  3. make a note of your water meter reading
  4. do not use water for at least one hour
  5. after an hour, take a new meter reading. If the number has changed you have a leak!

To find out what to do after, read on. We’ve previously talked about what causes a burst water pipe, but in this article, we are going to delve into the nitty-gritty of how to find an underground water leak. Not only will we show you a few simple tests to help you self-diagnose the problem at home, but we will walk you through how a professional plumber can help locate and identify the exact location of the leak and, in turn, fix the problem once and for all. 

DCM Plumbing is the best plumber on the Gold Coast. We are available 24/7 for all your plumbing needs. With over 900 5* Google reviews and 35 years of experience, we are known as the best for a reason. Got a blocked drain? Need help with leak detection? Want to learn how to clear a blocked drainWe can help.

Signs of an Underground Leak

  1. Water pooling: If you notice water pooling in an area on your property, or just an area that is damp, it may indicate a leak in your underground water supply line.
  2. Look for cracked foundations and walkways: pipes are usually only located a few inches underground, so cracked foundations or walkways could indicate an underground water leak. 
  3. Reduced water pressure: If you notice a decrease in water pressure in your home or building, it could be due to a leak in the water supply line, especially if the reduced pressure is isolated to one area or fixture.
  4. Unusually high water bills: If your water bill suddenly increases without any change in usage, it could be due to an underground leak.

How to Figure Out if You’ve Got a Burst Underground Pipe

Now, we’ll walk you through a few simple steps to help you determine whether or not you have a burst underground pipe. 

Step one: locate your water meter

A water meter measures the amount of water entering your house. It is usually located in the nature strip outside your property, in a black or green box. 

Bear in mind if you live in a complex with other units, apartments, or townhouses, there may not be an individual water meter for each dwelling. If you suspect a water leak in this situation, the best course of action is to contact body corporate or simply contact a professional plumber yourself. 

Step two: turn off all taps and any appliances that use water 

Be very thorough with this step; things like the freezer making ice can be enough to throw the readings off, so check everything. 

Step three: make a note of your water meter reading

This will help you know the baseline at which you’re starting. 

Step four: do not use any water for at least one hour

This includes flushing the toilet! Really be mindful of trying to keep the results as precise and reliable as possible. If you end up using any water before taking your second reading, simply start again from step two. 

Step five: after one hour, take a new meter reading. If the number has changed, you have a leak 

Once the hour has elapsed, and if you didn’t use any water during that period, it’s time for a second reading. Sadly, if the new reading is higher than the first, you have a leak. (Top tip: we recommend you perform this process regularly in order to catch leaks early and save you money in the long run – a burst underground pipe can be extremely expensive). 

If you can’t find the location of the leak, then you should contact a professional plumber to get it diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible. 

Causes of an Underground Water Leak

  1. Corrosion: Over time, pipes can corrode and develop holes, cracks, or leaks. Corrosion can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, water quality, and soil conditions.
  2. Physical damage: Pipes can be damaged by digging, excavation, or other physical activities in the vicinity of the water supply lines. This can cause cracks, punctures, or other types of damage.
  3. Shifting soil and tree roots: If the soil around the pipes shifts, it can put pressure on the pipes and cause them to crack or break.Tree roots can also rub against water mains and cause a hole
  4. Poor installation: If the water supply lines are not properly installed, they can develop leaks over time. This can be due to a variety of factors, including improper joint connections, incorrect pipe materials, or inadequate pipe bedding.
  5. Changes in weather and temperature:  Although we don’t suffer from water supply pipes freezing in Queensland, it can be an issue in colder climates. General changes in weather and temperature can cause the ground to expand and contract, causing movement to the pipes, which can in turn lead to burst pipes.

How To Determine the Location of an Underground Leak

Different methods might be employed when determining the exact location of an underground leak. We always strive to use the least invasive approach. Whilst we can provide basic initial inspections, a professional leak specialist might need to be called in if the leak is hard to locate. Let’s take a look at a few leak detection methods:

Physically examining the plumbing

The first step we take when attempting to identify the exact location of a leak is to walk around the property and check all internal and external plumbing for any signs of a leak, such as dripping water, damp areas, and pools of water. If we cannot identify a leak like this, we will bring in a leak detection specialist who may use any of the following methods. 

Gas injection method

This method involves adding pressurised gas into your pipes. The gas will then seep out at the leak location, and the leak specialist will use specialised equipment to detect traces of the gas. This should provide enough evidence of where the problem is located and is best for leaks occurring under hard materials such as concrete. 

Acoustic leak detection

Leaks make noise, and with this technique, specialised equipment that can pick up faint sounds is used to determine the location of the leak. 

As you can see, leak detection is no easy feat and can require some serious equipment and can cost a lot of money if left unattended. So if you suspect you’ve got a leaking pipe, contact us now. 

Want the Best Way to Find a Leak Underground?

Contact us.

We provide leak detection services to the Gold Coast because we understand household leaks are more than just an inconvenience. A leak will increase your water bill by a huge amount unnecessarily.

So if you suspect you have a leak, don’t hesitate – contact us today. 

Having a burst pipe can be a nightmare for homeowners. You risk the possibility of losing property and having your house or business damaged. As critical as these issues are, it can be tricky to figure out what causes a burst water pipe on your own.

Our burst pipe experts at DCM Plumbing and Drainage can help you identify the signs of a burst water pipe and fix them for you, but first, let’s dive into what causes a burst water pipe and some ways that you can identify it.

Signs of A Burst Water Pipe

Increased water bill

Higher than usual water consumption on your water bill could be a sign that you have a burst water pipe.

A change in water pressure

Another sign of a possible burst water pipe are changes in water pressure from your taps. If it’s a trickle one minute and then full-force the next, you could have a problem!

Damp marks on the walls, ceiling or floor

Noticed some damp marks in your home? This could be a sign of a potential burst water pipe and should be looked at ASAP. 

Puddles or boggy areas around the garden

If you notice some puddles or boggy areas in your garden and don’t know where they came from, you could be dealing with a burst water pipe.

Brown or smelly water

Another common sign that you may have a burst water pipe is if there is brown or smelly water coming out of your taps. This is because a burst pipe can become contaminated by the elements due to the rupture. 

If you notice any of these problems in your home, be sure to call a qualified plumber today.

Causes of a Burst Water Pipe

High Water Pressure

If your water pressure is too high, it can put stress on your pipes and cause them to burst. To determine whether you have high water pressure, you can have a plumber check the pressure in your home. If it is too high, they can install a pressure reducing valve to help fix the problem. A pressure reducing valve, sometimes called a water pressure regulator, is a safe and relatively inexpensive way to reduce the pressure in your pipes, thus reducing the likelihood of a bursting pipe.

Corrosion of The Pipe

Pipes that have been corroded by rust can burst and cause water damage to your home. If you think your pipes might be corroded, it’s important to call a plumber to inspect them. The plumber can replace any corroded pipes and help prevent a burst pipe.

Deterioration of The Pipe

Another common cause of a burst water pipe is simply that the pipe has deteriorated. This can be due to age or damage. Think your pipes might have deteriorated? Then book an appointment with DCM Plumbing today, and we can arrange a visit to check your pipes and make sure to prevent any serious issues.

A Blocked Pipe

Blocked pipes don’t merely slow down the flow of water; if left unattended, they can trigger a burst pipe. However, you don’t need to go through the stress of sorting out a blocked pipe yourself, as DCM Plumbing can get it sorted for you in no time.

Temperature Changes

Cooler weather and large fluctuations in temperature cause your pipes as well as the dirt and soil surrounding them to contract and expand, which can lead to them bursting. This problem is exacerbated when temperatures reach 0 degrees and below as water expands when it freezes, which can then put internal pressure on the pipe, potentially leading to a rupture. 

Poor Installation

Unfortunately, poor soldering and general shoddy workmanship can occur on occasion, and this can wreak havoc on your pipes. This is why it’s crucial that if you notice any of the signs of a burst water pipe, you should contact a plumber immediately to help diagnose the problem. 

What To Do If You Suspect A Burst Water Pipe

  • Stop using all water in or outside the house (including taps, washing machine, dishwasher and toilets).
  • Locate the water meter and make a note of the digits on the meter (including the red digits and dials).
  • Re-read the meter in an hour (remember, don’t use household water during this time).
  • If the digits have moved, it’s likely that a leak is present.
  • Turn off the water supply at the meter immediately to avoid excess water usage charges and call a licensed plumber.

The team at DCM Plumbing is made up of fully licensed burst pipe plumbers on the Gold Coast. We provide same-day service, and we can help you avoid a burst pipe causing damage to your home and property. Contact us as soon as you suspect that you may have a burst pipe and we will get it sorted. 

It’s a fact that most homeowners will experience a burst pipe in their lifetime. There are 6 signs you may have a burst pipe, so before you call out your local Gold Coast plumber to help, check out this handy list we’ve created so you can spot a possible leaking pipe which can also help to minimise the cost of repairs and damage to your home, carry on reading to find out more.

If you have any of the following 6 signs, it’s very likely you have a leaking pipe in or around your property-

6 SIGNS OF BURST PIPE

1 – CHANGE IN WATER PRESSURE FROM THE TAPS

When a water main pipe leaks, it is possible to notice a drop in the water pressure coming through to the taps. This is due to some of the water that would normally come through to the tap, leaking out of the broken pipe.

2 – DAMP OR WET MARKS ON THE WALLS, CEILINGS OR FLOORS

When leaks occur in pipes in the walls, ceilings or floor, there are usually noticeable water staining marks in the area of the leak. Vermin can chew through plastic piping in roofs and walls, causing small leaks that can be tricky to hear and see.

3 – PUDDLES OR BOGGY AREAS AROUND THE GARDEN

Constantly damp or wet areas in around the garden when there hasn’t been any rain recently is another tell tell sign you may have a burst pipe. Also patches of thriving grass when most of the garden is looking a little dry is another good indication that you may have a leak.

4 – BROWN OR SMELLY WATER

If water is discoloured or smelly when it comes out of your taps, it may be a sign of a corroded and possibly leaking pipe in your mains water system.

5 – INCREASE IN WATER BILLS

Have your water usage charges gone up dramatically without any obvious reason, like extra guests or watering of the garden during the drier seasons? If so, this is a good indication that you have a water leak on your property.

6 – CONSTANT DRIPPING OR SOUND OF WATER RUNNING

Have you noticed a new dripping or running water sound that won’t go away? Don’t ignore this one as it could be the sound of damage being caused by water leaking inside the walls of your home.

If you suspect a burst pipe and have checked out the list above, it’s time to call in help from your local trusted Gold Coast plumber, DCM Plumbing on (07) 5576 5305, we are fully licensed and insured and can attend to all emergencies the same day.

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