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A 3-Step Approach To Diagnosing Water Main Leaks

Your home relies on functional plumbing components to remove the waste your family generates each day. It is usually easy to spot a potential problem with an indoor plumbing fixture or pipe since you see these plumbing components on a regular basis.

The main sewer line that connects your home's plumbing system to the municipal plumbing system in your area can be overlooked when it comes to diagnosing leaks. A water main leak can be costly if left unaddressed.

Use this three-step approach to help determine if you have a leaking water main on your property.

1. Close the main control valve

The first thing you need to do when assessing the condition of your water main is close the main control valve regulating the flow of water into and out of your home. This valve is located near your water meter.

Be sure that you close the valve which controls the house side of the water main, not the street side. This will allow you to determine if water main leaks are plaguing your home without the interference of water draining from your property.

2. Eliminate residual water

Residual water can affect your ability to determine if a water main is truly leaking or just allowing residual water to pass through. Once you have closed your main control valve, you need to get rid of any residual water within your home's plumbing system.

This can be done by opening the valve on a plumbing fixture on the top floor of your home and on the bottom floor (or basement) of your home. An open valve will allow all of the residual water to drain out of your pipes so that you can accurately assess the condition of your water main and verify the presence of leaks.

3. Listen for an audible leak

Your ears can be valuable tools when it comes to diagnosing a water main leak. Find the water main by looking for the pipe that feeds into your water meter from the street. If the pipe is accessible, place your ear directly on it and listen for the sound of moving water.

If the pipe isn't easily accessible, use a long metal rod or a screwdriver to make contact with the pipe, then place your ear on the metal extension. The sound of running water will transfer through the metal rod or screwdriver, letting you know if you have a water main leak.

Contact a plumber for professional assistance with water main repair.