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Old 01-06-2020, 09:30 AM
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Default DIY - Water leak



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Thursday - received $800 water bill. Water company says 120 gal/hour. Yeah they noticed it a month ago... didn't say crap to us.

Checked all over house. In and under everything. Around foundation etc... all dry. Called wife's plumber cousin... he found the wet area between the house and the road (150 yds of front yard). The pipe from the water meter to the house is NOT straight. The water meter is probably 40 yds offset from the front of the house. Why? Who the heck knows...

So we started digging. Supposed to be 18" to 24" down right? Nope...

Looked like a bunch of drunken gophers were digging out there. We would dig down, find water, turn the water on and see where it was pushing through from. Then we would dig that way for a ways. Eventually we were about 36" down and were no closer to finding the actual pipe but we thought we were near the leak.

Asked the wife how long she wanted to work on Saturday before we actually went out and rented an excavator. So of course on Saturday we went to pickup a Kubota U17 mini-excavator. They rent for $175/day here.
Brought that baby home and got to work. Found that leak pretty quickly but it was almost 5' down in the ground. When my wife was in the hole it was up to her nose.

Got it all dug out... cut out and replaced. Waited an hour or so... pressure tested and wall was good. Left it like that for another hour or so watching the meter and running water to make sure that was the only leak. Filled the hole(s) and trench. Used the Bobcat tractor to back drag with the bucket to smooth it all out. Pretty smooth now. Get a rain or two on it this winter and it will be all smooth and nice. A bit of grass seed and it will all be good.

Had about 4 hours left on the excavator rental so we went to the in-laws and helped digging out and expanding a small pond.

So it was a sort of DIY weekend. I had never run an excavator before so that was fun. At least my oldest son had a bit of experience on one so it went pretty fast.
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:08 AM
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Some water companies will refund some of your money by showing evidence that you repaired the leak. In my city, they still charge for the water used, but at the lowest rate.

My main line broke twice, crappy old thinwall PVC, before I replaced it all with a large PEX pipe end to end.

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Old 01-06-2020, 10:25 AM
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My wife (head negotiator of all things) is heading over to talk with them later today. Knowing her they will work us a deal. They did say we could pay it out over a few months if we needed to. I said to argue it out and pay whatever the final came up to after the negotiations. No sense in dragging it out. Just pay it and be done.

After our last bit of monitoring we came to a possible small leak of .32 gal/hour somewhere. Shouldn't be any flow when no one is in the house for 7 hours. So, I need to replace a wall faucet outside that drips occasionally.
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:37 PM
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My leaks were all near swaged couplings in thin wall PVC. The stuff gets brittle and when installed, the pipe was laid out in a slight sweep so there was stress at the couplers. There was also evidence that the leaks were old and gradually worsened. Sand was scoured out if the ground and worked against the PVC. Rust staining outside the pipes.

Likewise my sprinkler system has had many failures, but mostly compressive failures of the unpressurized pipe from heavy lawn tractor traffic above.

I would keep a close watch for further leaks.

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Old 01-07-2020, 03:21 AM
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I know that horrible feeling,25$ a month for water..then..BAM..800$.The company could at least give you a heads up when they read the meter instead of just mailing the bill 10 days later.
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Old 01-07-2020, 04:51 AM
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Kudos on renting an excavator and teaching yourself to operate it and doing your repair.


I had a water hose break on a simple sprinkler system (just a few timers on a manifold and sprinklers). when I was away on business for a few days.
Came back and couldn't believe my neighbor just ignored it.
Similar bill, around $800.
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:20 AM
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Yeah... the best thing is now I know approximately where the line runs through that part of the property. I also know that sucker is deep so now I'm not worried about my little tractor running over it.

btw - company refused to negotiate. That sucks. Said the board changed the policy a couple of years ago. Worst part is they NEW (computerized meters) exactly when it started and how much the flow was but yet they gave no notice. I'm gonna go to the next board meeting and show them the hypocrisy of having computerized monitoring, seeing a leak on the listing and sitting on it for a month. If they can see it, they should be required to notify. I mean we wanna save the planet right?
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Old 01-07-2020, 09:23 AM
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My aerobic sewage system had a leak for a while too... the sprinkler heads were broken. That cost me $100 for the service call and $160 for the septic pump truck. Needed to be done but supposedly it was done less than a year ago before we bought. Those sprayers shoot water under a bunch of oak trees and over a good portion of the front (yard-ish) of our property. We don't use that part except to mow it but that green grass sure looks nice in the brown summer.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no guns here View Post
Yeah... the best thing is now I know approximately where the line runs through that part of the property. I also know that sucker is deep so now I'm not worried about my little tractor running over it.

btw - company refused to negotiate. That sucks. Said the board changed the policy a couple of years ago. Worst part is they NEW (computerized meters) exactly when it started and how much the flow was but yet they gave no notice. I'm gonna go to the next board meeting and show them the hypocrisy of having computerized monitoring, seeing a leak on the listing and sitting on it for a month. If they can see it, they should be required to notify. I mean we wanna save the planet right?
Tell them you are on a tight budget and can pay only $1.00 per month.

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Old 01-07-2020, 12:45 PM
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Nah... I'm not that poor. I can pay that every month if I need to. My wife did have it split into 2 months just so we could have more money this month to spend on the Grand-youngins...
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:59 PM
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Yep,can't remember the details,but I think my water company gave me a small break on the sewer charge since it was going in the ground,that was it.
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Old 01-08-2020, 12:00 PM
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Nah... I'm not that poor. I can pay that every month if I need to. My wife did have it split into 2 months just so we could have more money this month to spend on the Grand-youngins...
Is it possible the water dept twisted your pipe when they upgraded the meter? These utilities sometimes hire subcontractors who are hurried with piecework not very well trained.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:02 AM
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I don't think so... the crack was about 40 yds from the meter.
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