The phrase “underground water leak” is one of those which strikes fear into every home owners heart. By its very nature, you have no idea how long the leak may have been occurring or what damage it may have already done. Also if you are on a water meter you have probably been paying for wasted water. In addition, fixing an underground leak is usually a job for experts and the costs are likely to be high.
Bearing all this in mind it is important to identify a leak as soon as possible and to get it fixed as quickly as you can.
Identifying a leak
The first sign you have a water leak may be that your water meter is ticking over even when all of your household taps are turned off. This is a sure sign that something is wrong. If you do not have a water meter, you may have noticed patches of water in your garden or out front of your house which never dry up. If the water is bubbling up you have fairly clear evidence.
What to do
You first port of call is your water company. They will be able to tell you whether the leak comes under their jurisdiction and if you will have to pay. In most cases, if the leak in on your land it is your responsibility. Your water company will be able to give you a list of local contractors who can help you to identify and fix the leak. Generally an underground leak is not something you can deal with yourself.
Contact your insurance company to see if your underground pipes are covered by your policy. You may find that they will cover the entire cost.
What will the contractor do?
Your contractor will first need to work out exactly where the leak is and what might have caused it. They will use detection equipment such as cameras and listening devices to do this. The camera may show if your pipe has a crack in it or if it has collapsed entirely. They may also tell you if it has been caused by simple wear and tear or if local tree roots have caused the problem.
Your pipework will then need to be dug up and the section of broken pipework will be replaced. The rest of your pipework should also be checked while this is happening to ensure you don't have future issues.
Avoiding leaky pipes
In some cases it is impossible to avoid this situation. Your pipework may simply be old and in need of repair or replacement. However if you have large trees near to your home you need to be especially vigilant. Large trees suck water from nearby soil causing it to subside. This can put pressure on your pipes. Trees also have large roots which can cause lots of damage to fragile pipes.
Cutting down your trees may be the only solution to prevent this happening to you again in the future. But consult an expert if you want to avoid this. Your council may also have restrictions on which trees can be cut down, so you need to contact them as well.