Underground water leak

Is there any way to locate an underground water leak in the line from the road to the house other than by digging trenches?
-dan z-
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On 9/5/16 6:18 AM, slate_leeper wrote:

This solution requires a piece of pvc pipe, a styrofoam cup, and a stethoscope. Oh, almost forgot, tape. <http://www.farmshow.com/view_articles.php?a_idF7 This paper has the odd contraptions farmers come up with to solve their problems.
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On Monday, September 5, 2016 at 8:11:25 AM UTC-4, Dean Hoffman wrote:

A related question is what kind of pipe and how old, which can be a factor. For example if it's 50 year old galvanized pipe, I wouldn't waste time on looking for the specific leak, because the whole thing is likely shot at this point and needs to be replaced.
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On 09/05/2016 7:11 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote: ...

Wonder if he could hear the electrons escaping the end of that broken feeder line to the cattle waterer heaters... :)
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On 9/5/16 8:32 AM, dpb wrote:

I bet he could if he taped the stethoscope to a satellite dish.
Supposedly, the old transistor radios could help find a break. Connect a spark plug wire to the bad underground wire. Listen for the spot with the most static.
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On 09/05/2016 9:52 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote:

I've got an inexpensive finder but Dad, being Dad, wasn't content to just bury the line "enough", it's in the same trench as the water line which is about 38-40" -- the signal isn't strong enough to isolate the break with it.
The dude from town was able with his "high-priced spread" model to isolate to within about 2" another feed from the pole to the shop that I couldn't hear at all so I'm sure if I have him out he'll be able to find it; just a joke intended on "listening for electron flow"...but I do need to get it repaired before cold weather; too many other "needtos" in line ahead of it at the moment, though.
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On 9/5/16 1:08 PM, dpb wrote:

A former co worker talked about tire inflators that worked off engine compression. I've never seen one but this thread jogged my memory. <http://www.stopngo.com/engine-powered-air-pump-for-motorcycles-5-ft-hose-with-quick-release-lever/ Adding a 12v outlet is just as easy.
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On 09/05/2016 7:14 PM, Dean Hoffman wrote:

And the connection is...or is it just stream of consciousness?
The septic tank cleanout guys use engine vacuum, for their pumping, too...
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On 9/5/2016 6:12 PM, dpb wrote:

no they don't.
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On 09/05/2016 8:37 PM, Taxed and Spent wrote:

Well, certainly the one use here does...
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dpb wrote:

I seriously doubt it . Every single one I've ever seen had a bigass vacuum pump to evacuate the air from the tank .
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On 9/5/16 8:12 PM, dpb wrote:

Farm Show, odd uses, spark plugs.
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dpb posted for all of us...
; too many other "needtos" in

Fix the Avast ad.
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slate_leeper posted for all of us...

Look for the wet spot; just like on the bed sheets.
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I've done that. Nothing visible. The house is two story, on a hill. The first floor is under ground level. The hill slopes up from the street to the house. The water line comes into the house through the floor of the lower level. That means that depth of the line is from 2 feet (at the meter) to over 10 feet. The dirt for the hill was added after water and septic lines were placed.
-dan z-
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On Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 6:31:28 AM UTC-4, slate_leeper wrote:

If the line is only 2ft deep at the meter, I hope it's someplace warm where there is no serious freezing in winter. What material is the pipe and how old? As I said previously, that could make a big difference. If it's galvanized steel for example and 50 years old, it doesn't matter where the link is, the whole thing needs to be replaced.
There are leak locating services, you could check some in your area, see what they charge and how they get paid.
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A photo of the layout would be nice. How do you know there is a leak if you can't see anything??
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On Wed, 7 Sep 2016 07:59:03 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

When the water bill for the vacant house showed 3800 gallons of water for the month. I went over and shut off the line inside the house, thinking that a toilet or something was leaking. Next month the bill was about the same. So I looked at the meter, and sure enough the rotating indicator was moving slowly even though the water was shut off at the house.
Picture, if Google works for you https://www.google.com/maps/@36.409845,-82.5163434,3a,75y,180h,90t/data =!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s6Qg7m-HJAKDNqVm0khHD3A!2e0
Underground meter is just house side of the telephone. The right driveway goes to the garages which are in the lower floor. The water line enters the house floor about five feet in from the house front and goes up the back wall of the leftmost garage bay.
The address shown by Google is not actually the street number for this house. Strangely, using the correct street number does not give a view of this building.
-dan z-
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My mother-in-laws water line broke underground a few years ago. By the time we could drive there the running water had caused a small sink hole in the yard. So finding her leak was fairly easy (fixing it was another matter).
You might check the yard for depressions or wet/soggy areas. That might help you narrow it down. Of course, if the line is buried really deep it may not show on the surface.
I suppose you could use a stethoscope or something to "listen" for running water at various points in the yard. But if it's buried deep or a slow trickle you may not be able to hear it.
If you've had a stretch of dry weather, you might be able to use a moisture meter to search for any differences in the ground moisture. But that's probably a long shot.
Unless you've had heavy vehicles driving on the yard, the most likely failure spots are at the house end, or out at the meter. I would look there first.
Unless you can easily find the leak, it would probably be smarter to abandon the existing line and run a new water pipe. If you have a leak now, you'll probably end up with more in the future. Have the underground services marked, then rent a ditch witch to dig a new trench to the house. You might also be able to use a vibratory plow to bury a new line without having to dig a trench.
Good luck!
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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On 9/8/2016 10:09 AM, HerHusband wrote:

Unless the leak is something like a stake driven through the pipe it would be stupid not to replace it for the reason you stated.
If you DIY you probably need the ditch witch but I've seen lines replace with just one hole at the street connection. They pull a new piece of tubing through.
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