Bear in mind that turning the valve all the way in the cutoff
direction.. doesn't mean the water is cut off.. (like to the toilet)
These shuttoff valves get crud in them from not being used and fail to
seal when shut off...
this sounds like a tough one. given that the water is far from
free, i would take extraordinary measures. i would turn off the
hot water first. and check if it was still flowing. and check if
the meter still showed flow.
presuming it's cold water i would touch pipes here and
there and see what was coldest. i would open the walls
in my sink cabinets to check pipes there. and while open
i would install all the shutoffs that i could. then i would
start shutting down branch lines from the basement up.
i would say a little prayer.
i don't know how you USers meter your water. in canada,
we have the meter IN THE HOUSE. so if it shows usage
there's no doubt it's me. you guys apparently have the
meter somewhere outside so you could be leaking
into the ground! hard to believe. i don't have any
finally, if nothing panned out, i would call a good plumber.
Surely you have a valve in your house to turn off your whole house. Do
that. If meter shows that flow stopped, the leak in your house.
What is the pipe between the meter and the house made of? When was it
I had this happen once, only reason we figured it out was that the water
heater (gas) never shut off.
You should have a valve at the house that will shut off the whole house. For
get about what is inside. Shut it off and if the meter is still turning then
the problem is from the meter to the house. Time for some trenching.
If the problem goes away then it is inside. Now turn off the valve at the
water heater. Hopefully it will hold, if not fix it. If the problem goes
away now you know it is a hot water line. your almost there.
Turn off all faucets, appliances, etc. Listen for toilet leak. Use
"stethoscope"; big screwdriver pressed to ear on handle end, to toilet body
on other end.
Observe water meter; assuming the meter is moving, you might want to verify
that the meter isn't nuts. It's pretty hard to imagine how a meter could
move, in the absence of water current, but you can listen to the meter. Use
a broom handle that has no broomhead on it. Push one end of handle against
meter, and the other end against your ear. You should hear a click, click,
click. Some people can hear the water meter beating, while they sit in
their houses, when their sprinklers are running.
You might also try this stethoscope method at various locations on the
premises, by pressing against pipes. You might thus "vector" your way to
the proximity of the leak.
Commercial leak detection is available for fresh water (pressure) plumbing.
It senses sound. Appropriate for tiny leaks.
Do you guys flush the toilet a lot?
Take long showers?
Use clothes washer a lot?
One way to see if you have water leaking is to take a stethoscope and listen
main water line. You can try and compare with the water on and off. Most
likely the break
is with the line coming in the house, not after its in your house. You most
likely see water problems
or moisture problems with an extra 6,000 gallons.
If you dont ahve one of those, just grab the pipe and listen closely.
This is not a loose toilet flap. Check the main water as it goes into the
ground or into
the wall. Is it copper or is it black or grey. In the cases of a broken
you can get someone to insert a copper pipe into the plastic tube and you
I had this problem in my last house. The water bill went from $80 to $350
(roughly). When I called I was told that they noticed the difference and
reread the meter. Yeah, thanks for the phone call / post card I never
received. In any event, all I did was shut off the main to the house and
noticed the meter still turning. So as another poster said....It's time to
trench and replace the line from the meter to the house. By the way this
also happened to me in winter during a cold snap. I suspect that finished
off a 55 year old pipe pretty well......Good Luck, Ross
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