Most outdoor leaks occur between the house and the meter. One smart rule to follow, always take a sudden drop in water pressure, seriously, (no matter how slight) it may be a sign you have a leak.
Unfortunately it can be difficult and expensive to locate the exact spot where the line has broken. Water follows the path of least resistance so it may not be noticeable on the surface of your yard. If you know the general area where the water line runs between the meter and your house, you might want to walk the length of the line looking for wet or soft spots in the ground.
Finding Your Water Line
The water district does not have records of where water lines have been installed on private property. As-builts or blue prints are the best source of information for finding the water lines on your property. If these are not available you may need to call a locating service. See details below.
- Frozen Pipes: Whenever the temperatures drop below freezing there is a chance of having your pipes freeze. As the pipe expands to accommodate the frozen water, the pipes can split. Then as the pipe warms and the ice melts, water leaks from the split in the line. If your water pressure drops suddenly following a cold spell, suspect a leak. A good place to check is under the house. You may be able to hear the water running or a hissing sound coming from the broken area.
- Sharp Rocks: Rocks are another cause of water line breaks. If a rock shifts over time and happens to have a sharp edge, it can split a water line. This is a more common problem if vehicles drive over any part of the water line, even if the area is paved. (Note: If you find a leak has occurred under a paved surface on your property and you don’t want to dig up the paved surface, an alternative would be to run a new water line in an unpaved area, and then cap-off the buried line without repairing it.)
- Tree Roots: Large tree roots and water lines are not a good combination. Tree roots can put pressure on the water line as the tree grows, eventually breaking the line. When looking for a leak keep tree roots in mind as a possible problem.