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Leak Detection During Cold Winter Months

Jan 12, 2023

    You just received your bill, and it is way more than you usually pay! Due to the extremely cold weather, leaks can occur!
    Take preventive measures to avoid expensive and wasteful water leaks this winter. 

    Before cold weather hits:

    • Learn the location of your home’s water shut-off valve. If a pipe breaks, you’ll need to shut off the water to your house to minimize damage. In most single-family homes, the valve is in the basement or crawl space, on a wall facing the street.
    • Make sure everyone in your household knows how to shut off the water.
    • Insulate water pipes that may be vulnerable to the cold, such as those along exterior walls and in unheated basements.
    • Turn off the water supply to the irrigation system.
    • Cover all outside spigots with blankets or insulated covers. These covers can be found at most hardware stores.

    During a deep freeze: 

    • Keep open cabinet doors leading to exposed pipes (such as access doors for sinks), so that household air can warm them.
    • If you have an attached garage, keep its doors shut. Occasionally, plumbing is routed through this unheated space, leaving it vulnerable to winter's worst.
    • Crack a faucet farthest from the place where your water enters the house. A very slow drip will keep water molecules moving, reducing the chance that pipes will freeze. Place a bucket underneath the faucet so the water can be saved for other household uses.
    • Keep your thermostat set above 65 degrees when leaving your house or business for several days.

    If you think a pipe is frozen, don’t wait for nature to take its course:

    • Thaw the pipe as soon as possible or call a plumber for help.
    • If you thaw it yourself, shut off the water or test the shut-off valve. You don’t want water suddenly gushing from the pipe when it thaws.
    • When thawing, slower is better. Pipes warmed too fast may break. A hair dryer pointed at the frozen area of the pipe is appropriate. A blow torch is not.

    What can you do? Start by locating the leak, then take the necessary steps to repair it.

    How do you begin to locate the leak? Watch the water meter!!!

    If you suspect a leak, monitoring your home’s water meter will give you a definitive answer.

    Turn off all water faucets in your home and make sure the washing machine and dishwasher are not running.

    Check the water meter and write down the numbers you see.

    Look on your home’s water meter for a small triangular dial in the center labeled "Low Flow Indicator."

    Watch the triangle to see if it rotates, which means there is a water leak somewhere inside or outside your home.

    The next step is checking for signs of a leak in your indoor plumbing.

    Come back in an hour and check again. If the numbers have changed, there is a leak somewhere.

    To determine if the water leak is in the house or outdoors, turn off the shut-off valve on your home’s main water supply pipe. This is either located in a basement or a utility room where the water pipe enters the home.

    Check the water meter, write down the numbers, and wait another hour. When you check again, if the numbers have not changed, the water leak is inside your home. If the numbers have changed, the leak is in the buried water line that runs to the house.

    If the leak is in the buried water line, call an experienced plumber to repair or replace the water line.

    If the low flow meter on the water meter stops spinning, you have a leak in your irrigation system.

    Check for irrigation controller problems, your sprinkler valves, lines, and sprinkler heads.

    If you notice any of the above, fix the leaks or call an experienced plumber. A little maintenance and prevention will save a lot of money in the future.

    What happens if it is in not in my house or the buried water line?

    Call us to come and check out the meter and our line!