A broken water line can lead to expensive problems between the cost of the water leaking out and the damage it causes. Prompt repair is key to mitigating the costs and headaches associated with a water line leak.
Causes of Water Line Breaks
Age is one of the greatest factors that lead to breaks, as an aging line becomes more susceptible to other types of damage. Certain materials are even more prone to breakage as they age, such as old cast iron lines that have developed rust or corrosion. Add in water supply factors, such as a high-pressure flow from the municipal source, and breakage becomes even more likely.
Shifting soil is another culprit for a broken line. Some soils are more prone to shifting due to their material content, while others shift due to environmental factors like freeze-thaw cycles. Soil may also shift as a result of earthquakes and ground tremors, or from the use of earthmoving equipment nearby.
Signs of Breakage
Sometimes a sign of breakage is extreme because the line burst completely. You will be greeted with flooding in the yard or street and little to no water when you turn on the taps in your home.
Slower leaks from small breaks are less noticeable and they cause devastation over time. You may notice that part of the lawn seems wetter or greener compared to the rest. Your water bill will also likely be higher. In the home, there may be a decrease in water pressure or water quality may suffer. For example, it's quite common for sand and sediment to get into the water via a leak in the line, or the water may appear rusty orange thanks to damage to the iron pipe.
Your first step is to turn off the main valve so no more water is flowing through the main and into your home. This valve is usually located in the basement, garage, or a utility box near your home. Once this is done you must bring in a professional for a repair.
The pro will first make sure the break is on your line and your responsibility and not on the municipal line. They will then dig down to the line so they can assess the damage. A minor breakage from outside forces may mean you only need to replace a short length of the line. If the line is badly damaged or if it has reached the end of its useful working life, you will need to replace the entire line.
Contact a broken water line repair service if you suspect issues with your home's main water line.