| Property Contractors 247

A cracked or severed underground water line is a vexing problem that few homeowners ever want to face.

By separating this project into manageable steps, you can repair your underground water line by yourself, or at least take on some parts of it, thus reducing the project's overall cost.

It’s every homeowner’s or building owner’s worst nightmare. An underground water leak, sometimes also called a slab leak, is a leak originating from the water pipes that run under your home or building. These leaks are a bit harder to detect and when left untreated and can lead to fairly extensive damage. Damage ranges from your personal possessions to the structural integrity of your residence. Either way, an underground water leak is no fun. 

How to detect a water leak in your home

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The first step to fixing a water leak is finding one. Of course, the best way to find a leak is to see it. Whilst you may not directly witness water dripping, other warning signs such as damp walls, floors and skirting board can indicate that there is a hidden issue. For example, I found a water leak under the bath of my new property when I noticed that there was significant discolouration on the wooden skirting board across the bottom. Upon further inspection, the wood was wet and soft, so I removed the bath panel and found the leak.

Alternatively, you can check your water usage. If it has gone up significantly without reason it could be due to a leak. When you suspect this, a good way to confirm it is to take a meter reading and wait two hours. Ensure not to use any water during this time and take another reading. If your usage has increased, this indicates there is a leak.

Ways to Tell if You Have a Water Leak Underground

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Since it’s underground, this kind of water leak can often go unnoticed for months (or even years) if it’s a slow enough leak. As homeowners, it is crucial to conduct regular inspections of your home’s plumbing, both inside and outside. This means checking the areas around all plumbing fixtures for signs of moisture on a regular basis. 

If something doesn’t seem right, an underground water leak could be to blame. 

Underground leaks are often the result of pinholes in pipes due to friction or corrosion, erosion, expansive soil shift, poor quality pipes or installation, poor water quality or chemistry, and age. Homes that are older than 15 years are more susceptible to underground leaks.

How do you know you could be dealing with one? 

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Here are some of the biggest tell-tale signs:

  • Low water pressure
  • Water meter running after the water has been turned off in the house
  • Increased water usage and high water bill
  • Puddles in the lawn
  • Excess water in the soil around the home/noticeable muddy areas
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Water sounds when water isn’t running in the home
  • Damp flooring or walls


Prior to digging in your yard, you should always have utility lines marked by your local utility location service. 


Some common indicators of a leak in your underground water line include:

  • Water meter indicator is spinning even though no water in or around the house is turned on
  • Mushy, soft spots in yard
  • Recessed or swelling lawn or ground


Once you know the general area of the leak, pinpoint its precise location.


Open the metal water meter box. Locate the valve beside the meter, on the house side of the meter (not the street side).


Bail water from the trench with a bucket. Toward the end, drain the rest of the water with a shop vacuum on wet mode. REPAIR THE WATER LINE. 


Examine your repair under pressure to make certain that it is secure. 

Why do pipes leak?

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A variety of factors can cause pipes to leak, including frost, dry spells, logging and even the weight of traffic passing over pipework in the road. Bristol Water manages over 6,700 km of pipework - so it's inevitable a leak will occur from time to time.

The size of the leak can also vary. Some leaks can be very large, with the worst resulting in water gushing out of the ground, many, however, will be small, and sometimes difficult to locate.

We advise all customers make monthly water meter checks to help spot leaks. If you think you may have a water leak, Bristol Water may be able to provide a free leakage detection service, whereby if a leak is found, a repair can be arranged.

If you are not confident about your ability to turn the project around in a satisfactory period of time, Get in touch with us. We will provide all service as possible. Call us now! 020 7916 2087

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