Massive water leak? ** 4/20 NEW UPDATE!!!!**

Discussion in 'Horn Depot' started by Brisketexan, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Brisketexan

    Brisketexan 1,000+ Posts

    I am VERY worried about this possible development. Our February water usage was 6,700 gallons. When we looked at our most recent utility statement (which oddly enough, we didn't even get via mail as usual -- I had to call to get the information), our bill had DOUBLED because our water usage metered at 34,000 gallons. Umm, holy ****.

    We did not use any appreciable additional water. So, we have one of three situations: (1) a bad meter reading (please God let that be it), (2) a leak on the city's end, or (3) a leak on our end.

    I am only concerned about the last two possibilities -- how do we know, and what could they mean? We see no signs of leaks anywhere near our home -- no overly saturated soil, pooling water, etc. Maybe we wouldn't? How can we figure out what's up, and once we do, how can we fix it? ****.
  2. Super_Chachi

    Super_Chachi Guest

    The first thing I would do is to go look at your meter and compare it to the bill.
  3. midtown

    midtown 1,000+ Posts

    Make sure all your water is turned off in the house. Go out and look at the meter. There should be a little arrow, if its moving, you have a leak somewhere.

    Sprinkler systems are a big culprit. Check under all sinks, feel the sheet rock to see if its wet. Look around the exterior of the house. If the leak is against an exterior wall the water might be coming out of one of the weep holes in the brick.
  4. jimmyjazz

    jimmyjazz 2,500+ Posts

    Check your meter when you have no running water, including all taps, your washing machine, and your toilets. Your meter should have a little triangular indicator that is stationary. If so, turn on one sink and look at that indicator -- it should be spinning.

    If it's spinning all the time, you probably have a leak.

    NCAAFBALLROX 1,000+ Posts

    I have heard that "From your side of the meter in & all the way to your house is the consumer's responsibility, from the meter out is the city's responsibility."

    If there is a leak on the city's side, I cannot see how it would make the meter spin. There is always a potential for a defective meter, but then I really don't know much about how they work & if this is a viable possibility.

    Good luck & I'm hoping for the best for you.

    Edit: Aaaaaaaaaand it's Midtown by a nose... photo finish.

  6. AstroVol

    AstroVol 500+ Posts

    The old rule of thumb is 200 gallons per person per day.

    That would be around 6000 gallons per person per month. Is it possible there was an error in your favor in February? How many people live in your house? Have you compared it to your other water bills in previous months.

    Have you begun any lawn watering? You might be surprised how much water that uses.
  7. ghost

    ghost 500+ Posts

  8. Brisketexan

    Brisketexan 1,000+ Posts

    I don't have my other bills handy, but looking at what our total utility bill typically is, with most of the fluctuation coming from power usage (depending on the temps and AC usage), 7,000 gallons per month is probably close to normal for us, give or take a thousand or two.

    I just talked to a client here in our office who is a bigwig with a water utility. From the additional amount we are talking about, about 28,000 gallons, he thinks it is an appliance, probably a toilet. At 1440 minutes in a day, a little over a 3/4 gallon per minute leak is near 1000 gallons per day, which gets us there. And, come to think of it, the other day, I noticed that our toilet was letting water flow from the tank back down into the overflow pipe (it was hardly making any noise, so I hadn't noticed it before). I adjusted a little plastic screw on top of the valve assembly, and it stopped. That could very well be it.

    I am praying to God, Allah, Yaweh, Vishnu, and Vince Young that it was the toilet, and this will just be a $180 lesson instead of a $15,000 leak in my slab.
  9. ghost

    ghost 500+ Posts

    I was just reading what the City of Houston has on their public works section and they mentioned a toilet leak specifically, as it might be leaking long before you actually hear the toilet running.

    Hopefully, that's the problem and you will be in the clear.

    Here is the page from the City of Houston's website.
    The Link
  10. KC-97HORN

    KC-97HORN 500+ Posts

    I really hope for your sake thats all it is.

    I had a leak for an old waterline to the ice maker on my fridge leak.

    I knew I had a leak somewhere because I could hear the water trickling( albeit only about a gallon every 10-15 mins) and it took me a good 2 months to find the actual culprit (and my water bill never went higher than 3,000 gallons).

    When I finally fixed the leak, at most the next month my bill dropped by 1,000 gallons.

    If my leak was audible and it was only losing 1,000 gallons a month, I am really worried about an inaudible leak losing 28,000 gallons.
  11. Tyler Durden

    Tyler Durden 500+ Posts

    Vince is going to be mad that you prayed to false gods.
  12. Genco

    Genco 100+ Posts

    Assuming that the toilet was the source, is there nothing else to worry about if you fix the float? Will excess water flowing down the overflow tube cause any other problems? I haven't had to deal with the issue before but I would like to be prepared
  13. gobears92

    gobears92 Guest

    I am praying for you and I aint joking about that....hope everything turns out well....if not we will start a fund.. [​IMG]
  14. Brisketexan

    Brisketexan 1,000+ Posts

    It ain't looking good. In fact, it's looking bad.

    It isn't the toilets. I made sure they weren't running. No other water was running. I even looked down the cleanout pipe -- no water was flowing out of our house via the normal drain channel.

    But when I went and watched the meter, we were reading a rate of about a gallon every 80 seconds or so, give or take. I did the math, and that accounts almost precisely for our 28k gallon overage.

    ****. ****. This means I have a leak. Somewhere. I pray that it's in the yard. One thought I have had is that with all the rain, we have had some soil shift. Perhaps it is at the juncture of the pipe where it meets the slab. Yay. I am actually praying that it's just a $3,000 job and not a $15,000 job.

    I may start smoking and selling briskets in my spare time to ensure that my home has running water. This is looking to be quite craptacular.
  15. accuratehorn

    accuratehorn 10,000+ Posts

    In my neighborhood, there was a problem with some fitting between the meter and the pipe that heads towards the house. The builder used the same fitting on all the houses. They would start leaking after a few years, and would leak for some time before found. Could be something like that (?).
  16. AstroVol

    AstroVol 500+ Posts

    Did you actually turn the water off on each of your toilets before you checked the meter? Sometimes the running water can be very subtle. Might be worth a shot before you pay someone.
  17. Texas Law

    Texas Law 25+ Posts

    It might not be that bad. We had a slab leak a few years and it only set us back about $1000. We were fortunate that it was a leak to an outside faucet. The plumber was able to tunnel under the house (or more precisely, the day laborers were)instead of going through our floor. We ended up just capping the pipe under the house and losing that outdoor faucet.
  18. Brisketexan

    Brisketexan 1,000+ Posts

    I didn't actually shut off the actual water valve to the toilets, but I did go look in my cleanout pipe -- if any water was flowing from the toilet down the drain, it would be visible there. There was no visible flow. The water is coming out of our pipes SOMEWHERE, but it isn't going down any drain. It is going out into the ground, the slab, or some other place it shouldn't be.

    Houses in our neighborhood are approx 50 years old. Folks are having pipes start to go on them. I was hoping that we were several years down the road on this -- I hope we still are, and it is another type of leak. I'd be happy to get out for $1,000 at this point.
  19. shorty

    shorty 250+ Posts

    Good luck. Are you on peir and beam or slab foundation?
  20. ghost

    ghost 500+ Posts

    When an SSES (Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey) is done, smoke testing is used to find any I/I sources in manholes, municipal mainlines, and/or service lines. Smoke is circulated through the sewer. Smoke rises up through the ground if there is any type of break or hole in the sewer line.

    Granted you have a water issue, but the same thing might be done to verify where you have a crack or hole in your pipe. At least, I assume the same thing could be done. I haven't had to deal with any private service line issues, as ultimately they are the responsibility of the home owner where as my clients are municipalities.
  21. Luke Duke

    Luke Duke 1,000+ Posts

    Dump a bunch of brisket juice in the water line and then let the dog find your leak for you. [​IMG]
    If you have a pier and beam then it shouldn't be too bad. I suspect that you have a slab which could be costly.
  22. midtown

    midtown 1,000+ Posts

    HA HA
  23. Horn_Spanker

    Horn_Spanker 250+ Posts

    Last summer I had a break where the PVC from the meter connected to the house copper. Luckily it was three feet from the slab. The ground held the alignment of the pipes, because we still had water pressure? My only clue of a leak was the faint sound of water running, and the bog in the front yard. A Sunday morning of digging and 56 fire ant bites, I had it fixed for before noon!
  24. NickDanger

    NickDanger 2,500+ Posts

    I know we have communicated directly, but this could be of some help to others. If you have a supply line leak under the slab, you may not have the real damage come until after you fix the leak. If you add a cup of water to a cup of clay (expansive) soil, you might very well end up with 2.1 cups of volume. You may have lost enough water to fill up a swimming pool. Where did it go? There are clays that, when moistened, can exert forces well over 10,000 pounds per square foot. Your 2000? square foot house weighs around 150 pounds per square foot. There are clays that can exert closer to 30,000 pounds per square foot. Las Colinas area, I think. Bottom line is that a few square feet of moistened clay can lift your entire house if this is true.

    This is glossing things over, but the bottom line is not to breathe a sigh of relief after the leak is fixed. Keep the perimeter well watered forever and ever.

    I'm not a big fan of any of the stabilization processes.

    If the clays under your house are extremely swollen and the clays under the beams are fairly swollen as well from the recent rains, you might not see much problem until the summer when the clays around the perimeter shrink. Since you aren't a princess and this isn't a pee we are talking about, I will liken it to a pebble in your Tony Llamas. You will want to be very vigilant about keeping your perimeter moist. The water discharged by supply lines often acts in very strange ways when it seeks to find equilibrium. It would take years, if ever, for it (the soil underneath your house) to return to the moisture level it was in before you had a supply line leak (if you do).
  25. plumborange

    plumborange < 25 Posts

    Brisket, you might want to try a hydrostatis test, which will give you a better idea of what you're dealing with. I can do it in a couple of hours, and hopefully find it. PM me
  26. ScoPro

    ScoPro 1,000+ Posts

    A north Austin friend of mine had a leaky toilet flapper that cost him $985 one month.
  27. CardinD

    CardinD 25+ Posts

    Call American Leak detection.
    They will come up with equipment that can hear where the water is leaking.
    Did a great job for me. Leak was not under the slab, thank goodness. Tree root broke a pipe. I never would have found it on my own. Literally lost enough water to fill a swimming pool, and not a drop came to the surface.
  28. UnBiased Horn

    UnBiased Horn 250+ Posts

  29. ghost

    ghost 500+ Posts

  30. accuratehorn

    accuratehorn 10,000+ Posts

    There are some houses for sale in my neighborhood, and I would promise to bring beer to your backyard bbq's.
    Aren't there some dye tablets you put in the toilet tank, then see if there is dye in the bowl? I would try those. Then hire an excavation specialist to dig up around the meter where the house supply line meets the meter, then call a professional if nothing has been found. Then move.

Share This Page