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How to Find Out If You Have an Underground Pipe Leak

If you suspect that water may be leaking from a broken pipe or fitting somewhere underground, the following simple test will let you know for sure:

Check the water meter's dials.©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Check the water meter’s dials.

1 Turn off every faucet, fixture, and appliance that uses water—even the ice maker. Do NOT turn off the main shutoff valve.

 

2 Open the water meter’s cover so that you can see the gauge.

 

3 Mark the rim of the gauge where the needle is pointing (if there are several dials, mark the one that indicates 1-cubic-foot increments).

 

4 Leave the water shut off for 30 minutes, and then see if the needle has moved from the mark. If it has, your plumbing is leaking somewhere.

 

5 You can look for signs of a leak, such as sinkholes or mushy areas of ground, but you may have to have a professional find it.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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