Meter running with no water running in the house!

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Rufus325, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Rufus325

    Rufus325 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Location:
    Shelbyville, KY
    First off, Hello to all.

    I have a problem that I can't seem to find. My water meter is running, but my house isn't using water. The meter is about 600' from the home, and I do have a line out to several fields that has a cut off before the home cut off. This cut off seems to be working properly and the water supplied to the rest of my 5 acres isn't being used. I have zero flow from the nearest spigot from the house when the valve is closed.

    I have a tankless electric water heater, two full baths, and new toilets with leak stoppers in the flush valves. I don't have any type of irrigation. I am also on a septic field. County water, no sewer.

    I walked the yard tonight looking for a wet spot in the yard on the way to the meter, but I found nothing.

    Last month our bill was about $80 more than it should have been, this month about $100 more than the beginning of Spring when I filled a 24' swimming pool!

    The meter triangle is moving at pretty good clip with the house off, resulting in a $165 water bill with no sewer added.

    Thanks in advance,

    Rufus
     
  2. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    Foam/Fireproofing/Acoustical
    Location:
    Canada
    So you have a leak, and want to know what to do next?
     
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Assuming you have a shutoff right after the meter, turn it off and verify the meter stops running. It is almost certain that there's a leak somewhere, and you'll need to find it. Depending on the type of soil you have and the depth of the line, it could dispurse in the soil without creating wet spots. There are companies that specialize in finding leaks like this. Unless the line was damaged when being installed, or construction or something heavy caused it to be damaged, it may be a symptom of requiring line replacement. What material is the pipe?
     
  5. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Occupation:
    disabled-retired industrial fabricator
    Location:
    200 miles south of Little Rock
    My father-in-law once had that problem, and the running meter was the only evidence of the leak that obviously had to be somewhere.
     
  6. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Information Technology
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    600 feet is a lot of trenching. Invariably Murphy's law states that you will start digging at the wrong end. If you are lucky, you might find a plumber that can spot freeze the line to essentially shut it off. Then you can spot dig in the middle and determine which half the leak is on. Such a binary search halves the result with each iteration so you may find the leak in as few as 20 holes dug.
     
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I think your best course of action is to hire a professional leak finding company as jdnashua suggested. It's likely the leak is quite deep since it is not appearing on the surface, so digging and spot freezing would involve quite a bit of digging and plumber expense to do the freezing.
     
  8. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    "retired" and still building and troubleshooting
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Shut off the lines out to the yard - install valves. If the leak is gone, run new pipe - its cheaper and faster then a tester or 20 holes.

    Had the same problem [but no meter] - dug a huge hole at a damp spot, then the kid found the leak at a hose bib 100' away. Which leak followed a gopher hole for about 4' to a secret spot.
     
  9. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Occupation:
    Information Technology
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    How deep do they bury lines in Kentucky? 6 to 8 feet deep is common up here to stay below frost.

    If you don't have access to freeze equipment, just warm up the exposed pipe and see how long it holds the heat. If the water isn't moving in the pipe it won't cool off as fast as when water is moving through it. Won't work with a slow leak.
     
  10. mage182

    mage182 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
    Location:
    NY
    Any idea how old your water main is?
     
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