FAULTY WATER METER?

To update the group on the latest, let me give some more facts:
1. I live on a three acre plot and there's no way that neighbors could be stealing water. No construction in the area either, and I haven't done anything lately involving digging. 2. Turning off the main valve stops the flow. 3. I can hear water hissing as the main valve is turned off. 4. The main valve is next to the street, about a hundred feet from my house. 5. I don't have an underground sprinkler system. 6. I've turned off everything possible inside the house (toilets), and the water still runs. 7. The water meter is mechanical, not electronic. I can't vouce for its accuracy, but I know that water is coming into the system. 8. I did find one toilet with a silent leak. It drained about half the tank in an hour. It's something to definitely fix, but not the cause of the major leak that I have. 9. The fact that the leak stopped for several hours has made me question my own sanity, but I know it did.
Yesterday, I went home early once again to attempt to find the shutoff valve next to the house. I went to the outside faucet where I believe the water line enters the house. I could hear water hissing as I got close to the faucet. I called my plumber and he's supposed to come by this morning and check it out. Hopefully, he can determine something.
I also dug down by the footing of the house under the faucet where I heard the hissing, but didn't find a water line. It must enter the house at a different spot. The faucet is located on the north side, so the line must enter at the northeast corner since that's the direction the main line points to from the meter. Naturally, there's a large shrub bed at that corner to inhibit digging. I'll let the plumber's younger crew do the digging. Hopefully, the leak will be found outside the house since it's built on a slab. I just hope it doesn't require tearing into the slab to try to determine where the leak is.
You would think a 4000 gallon per day leak would be easy to find, but I haven't seen any evidence of it yet. There are damp areas on the north side of the house, but we had a good rain a few days ago and that area is in shade, so it's not surprising that it is damp.
Thanks for the suggestions.
David Alexander Camden, AR
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Has the plumber shown up yet?? :)
Don't you have individual line shutoff valves in the house, to help isolate the problem? I have a bunch, all over. Most of'em don't work :(, but they are there.
It's not clear where the suspect fawcet/line is--outside hose spigot? And you still seem concerned w/ where the main line enters the house. Is this because you can't tell if the hissing is main-line water flow (before the meter), or the possible culprit (after the meter)? Also, You mention the main shut-off being outside the house. Is the meter also outside the house? W/ buried line before entering the house?
If you don't have individual shut offs for the various lines, AND you can't sleuth down this problem, you might want to put some in, to at least narrow the problem. This is not a minor job, but there are various ways to do this, depending on what type of plumbing you have: brass, pvc, copper, iron. Some quick/dirty, others less-quick/more correct.
Would such a leak cause a more lush foliage in that vicinity? More-so than your neighbors?
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Mr. P.V.\'d (formerly Droll Troll), Yonkers, NY
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You might consider hiring some minimum wage workers to dig and find the leak. It would be a lot cheaper than having plumbers do it.
At least you know that you have good drainage around your house.
Bob
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Bob F wrote:

That's good advice. But his first problem appears to be that no one knows where to dig. Instead of calling the $$$ plumbers, I'd call the utility mark out service. Here in NJ there is one # to call before doing any digging. The service comes out and marks, gas, water, elec, etc for free.
Then, at least you know where to dig. Next, I'd get a shutoff valve installed, either inside the house if the pipe is accessible close to where it enters, or else outside. Then, you can at least determine if the leak is inside or out.
Also, after finding and fixing the leak, if you've been paying more than the minimum water bill, I'd contact the water utility. Some, will go back and adjusts some bills to give you a break.
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Do you have hot water baseboard heat? Is there an automatic fill valve on it?

This is what made me think of hte baseboard leaking. I had a similar problem, but it was a mere trickle. Took a couple of days to finally find th eleak as it was not visible.
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