Saturday, April 3, 2010

Leak Detectives

S: We filled up our swimming pool last week. Oh wait, we don't have a swimming pool....but if we did, the 20,000 gallon water usage on last month's bill wouldn't be as shocking. Hmmm, let me think, we watered the lawn. Once. For about 30 minutes. Oh, and I took a bath. That explains it right?
Z: You only took one bath? That's gross Sarah. Although you managed to smell flowery as ever all month. Conclusion: my wife sweats rose oil. Thankfully we have a responsible water company that informed us that our water usage quadrupled before we ever got the bill. The first point of trouble shooting was to turn off each water valve for every toilet and faucet in the house. If the meter stops running , then the leak is happening with a faucet or most likely a toilet, which can easily be DIY. If the meter continues running, this means the leak is located in the main line to the house, or worse in the foundation, which can easily require a professional. In our case, the meter kept running! We hoped it was in the yard line, somewhere between the meter and the house. A leak in the foundation is usually expensive....removing flooring...jackhammering concrete...$$$.
S: What puzzled us most was the lack of water, where did it all go?
Z: A leak in the foundation or wall pipes could lead to soggy walls or a wet spot somewhere around the foundation. Since we had neither of these, we figured the leak was in the main line between the meter and the house. We had just had a few inches of rain so it was hard to gauge where the ground was soggiest, but I discovered a small soggy patch in the lawn and after digging down several inches found a pool of water.
S: We still weren't able to locate the pipe, so we made an appointment with a plumber. The plumber never showed up, which was really frustrating. So we got back out there and started digging...and guess what, Zach found the pipe. Amazingly, the spot Zach chose to dig was directly over the leak, we just needed to dig a little deeper.
Z: How did I do it without a divining rod? Magic. Take that lazy plumber.
S: After purchasing $4 worth of supplies, Zach had fixed the leak! So in the end it was actually a good thing the plumber didn't show up. Plus Zach's lack of behind helps prevent unsightly plumber's crack.

Z: The double bend in the PVC was the source of the leak. I believe it had been installed under tension and eventually failed after 25 years. So all that needed to be done was to cut the pipe and replace that double bend.

S: We kept the water turned off as much as possible until we could fix the problem. Let me tell you how much I appreciate running water! I felt like I was on the show 1900 house. Ok, it wasn't quite that bad but still.

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