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If you have ever had leaky pipes inside of your home, you probably noticed them fairly early on in the process. The problem with broken water mains is that they are much more difficult to detect and repair because they are located underground. If you are very unlucky, portions of your water main could be located underneath concrete overlay in your yard.

How to Tell if You have a Broken Water Main

(Pixabay / BonnieHenderson)

The water main is the pipe linking the home plumbing system to the public water supply. The water main transports water from the public water line to your home to ensure that you have a sufficient supply of water. The water main is typically positioned underground, making it difficult to pinpoint where the leak is located.

Fixing a broken water main is difficult to do and can be very expensive. It involves more work than standard, indoor broken pipes because the plumber in charge of fixing the problem has to dig up the ground around the pipe to expose the defective part. It is important to note that most jurisdictions hold homeowners responsible for broken water mains if the break is between their house and the sidewalk. After the sidewalk, the city is in charge of correcting the break.

Even if the water main is underground, there are some telltale signs to suggest that there is a leak somewhere in the line. Be on the lookout for the following:

  • Standing Water Inside of Your House – If you observe puddles of water, no matter how big or small, especially under the sink or on the floor, you might have a pipe leak somewhere. It should be easy to spot the leak if it is on an exposed pipe, but if you cannot pinpoint the source of the leak, it means that it is probably somewhere that is hidden from your view. Call a professional plumber to help locate the source of the leak.
  • The Walls Feel Moist – If you have damp drywall at any point during the year, it could mean that there is a leaking pipe inside of the wall. If you check the walls closely, you will likely find other discolored or wet spots.
  • Soggy Yard – With the exception of significant rainfall, your yard should never feel soggy or mushy. If you see a sinkhole or wet areas in your yard, the most likely explanation is a broken water main, and you should immediately call a professional plumber to inspect the problem. If the main is really broken, you need to have it fixed immediately because things can turn dangerous pretty quickly.
  • Water Flowing into the Street – Oftentimes, water from a broken water line will flow into the street. If you observe water bubbling right in front of your yard, it’s a pretty clear sign that you have a broken water main.
  • Little or No Water Pressure – Unexplained low water pressure in your house could mean that there is a leak somewhere. Clogged or burst pipes could also be the culprit.
  • Unexpectedly Expensive Water Bill – When you are doing your best to save on water consumption, but your water bill is still astronomically high, it could be a broken water line. You are literally throwing water and money down the drain.

Some other signs that you have a leaky pipe or broken water line include unpleasant odors and bubbling noises around your house. Always be on the lookout for signs of problems in your water lines, especially if your water bill keeps going up for no reason at all.