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Old 10-12-2008, 10:01 PM   #1
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


I can hear water running through pipes from the main, but I have no valves on and the water heater is full. this has been occurring several times a day for a few days now. I've noticed it before, usually in the early morning, but throughout the day doesn't make any sense. I can trace the sound to the closet with the water heater, but I can turn off the valves on the heater and the sound will continue.

Are the neighbors using my water? That would explain my high water bills while I'm away...

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Old 10-12-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


If you're shutting off the water at the main and your water heater is still filling, you're not getting the water shut off. That could mean that the valve isn't seating fully.

I doubt the neighbors have the capacity (plumbing wise) to access your water supply, but stranger things have happened.

Try this. Shut off the main. Hook a hose to the water heater and drain it down a few gallons. Some water will run into it from the lines, but if it gets a steady supply of water your main shutoff is shot.

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Old 10-13-2008, 12:07 AM   #3
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Shut off the water to your whole house and see if the neighbors complain.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:10 AM   #4
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


More than likely,,,your water is sneaking out thru a BAD toilet. FIRST take the lid off and look to see the stool isnt filling up past the overflow tube,,,fill valve NOT shutting off. Then turn water OFF for 4-8 hours and see how long it takes for the water to 'seep' out of the back tank..... a BAD leak it will be gone in an hour or less,,,a slight drip may take all day. Take that amount times 24/7/365 and SEE how much water is just being 'wasted'. Same with even a 'slight' drip from a faucet,,,measure and times to years waste of water. Even when water was cheap I had a stool you would swear was just fine,,,waste 300-500 dollars a MONTH of water.(they can be cracked in the bottom and NOT be noisey doing it!!!)

Dont shoot the neighbors just yet!!!
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:57 PM   #5
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Quote:
Originally Posted by DIYtestdummy
Are the neighbors using my water? That would explain my high water bills while I'm away...
Maybe I'm asking the obvious here, but are you in a detached house, or an apartment/townhouse? (Not that I think they'd be stealing it.. Just their pipes may run through your closet wall..)

If you're not hearing water running in any other room in the house (and nothing's pouring down the walls, I assume ), do you by any chance have an in-ground sprinkler system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4just1don
FIRST take the lid off and look to see the stool isnt filling up past the overflow tube
If you have stool anywhere near your overflow tube.. your toilet is upside down.

Seriously though, is that a regional thing?? I've always called it the tank.
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:09 PM   #6
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Is your water meter showing use when you have everything off and you hear the noise?

Do you have a water softener? Sometimes the valves on a water softener fail.
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Old 10-13-2008, 06:57 PM   #7
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin Gardens View Post
Shut off the water to your whole house and see if the neighbors complain.
I was going to do that this morning, but I woke up late and had to get the wife off to work too. Tomorrow...

I'm in a private house, 2 bath, the main runs from the meter (next to the neighbors' meter), thru the front yard to the front spigeot/shutoff valve, into the main bath, under the master bedroom, into the master bath, and thru the rest of the house/kitchen/heater/laundry closet.

I didn't think about a leaky toilet, but I can hear the water come on/shut off when sitting on the main toilet. I don't hear the other toilet flush itself or fill when I'm in the master.

Tanks are fine from what I can tell...beside being half-functional low-flush. (Maybe the "stool" thing previously mentioned...ewwww! Flush again!)
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:05 AM   #8
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


You can laugh all ya want,,,it maybe is a "HERE" thing. The whole darn fixture is called a 'stool', toilet,throne, toiddy, crapper, ,,,take your pick!!! I WASNT refering to any left over waste in that useage,,,so change the word to YOUR word for the WHOLE fixture. I dunt care,,but YOU care when all your water is running thru it,,,wastefully!!! IF you can hear water running,,,it is running someplace.

I was refering to the overflow in the TANK part,,is there another over flow in any 'throne'???

If those flappers in the TANK are old at ALL replace them anyway,,,and make sure there isnt a track or scum(defined built up clean water deposits) build up,, on the LIP where it is supposed to seat!!

Last edited by 4just1don; 10-14-2008 at 02:07 AM. Reason: oops
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Old 10-14-2008, 06:10 AM   #9
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Quote:
Originally Posted by 4just1don View Post
You can laugh all ya want,,,it maybe is a "HERE" thing. The whole darn fixture is called a 'stool', toilet,throne, toiddy, crapper, ,,,take your pick!!! I WASNT refering to any left over waste in that useage,,,so change the word to YOUR word for the WHOLE fixture. I dunt care,,but YOU care when all your water is running thru it,,,wastefully!!! IF you can hear water running,,,it is running someplace.

I was refering to the overflow in the TANK part,,is there another over flow in any 'throne'???

If those flappers in the TANK are old at ALL replace them anyway,,,and make sure there isnt a track or scum(defined built up clean water deposits) build up,, on the LIP where it is supposed to seat!!
Yeah...what he said! I agree with Don. I had a commode that was leaking water past the flapper and you could hear the water cycle on every now and then. Replaced the guts and saw my water/sewer bill drop almost 50%. Not sure how it works where you are at, but in my county we pay $2 sewage fee for every $1 of water that flows past the meter. Before I fixed it, I checked my meter reading in the morning, then again upon returning home from work and found that I was losing quite a bit of water per day. Here they do 'yearly averaging" meaning that they base next years sewage rates for the year, based on an average of what you use during the months of November and December (the lowest usage months), so it is important to have any leaks fixed, wash you car at a carwash, and try to not wash small loads in the clothes/dish washers etc.
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:23 AM   #10
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Yeah - the sewage portion of the bill has me miffed. I don't use that much water, even with a pool, and it reflects on the bill that way too. At first, I was thinking the sound was the sewer noise traveling up the drain (which could be some of the noise I am hearing). The running water still has me stumped. The flappers on the toilets are still in good condition and I can't see anything else wrong with the toilets.

I just thought of something - the water line to the swamp cooler. I didn't use it this year, because it's in horrible shape and I'm almost positive I shut everything off, but that could be it...
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Old 10-14-2008, 10:46 AM   #11
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Quote:
Originally Posted by DIYtestdummy View Post
At first, I was thinking the sound was the sewer noise traveling up the drain (which could be some of the noise I am hearing).
It very well could be the vents to the roof that are making it sound like there is water running. My pipes have that noise all the time.

The thing to do is to shut off everything in the house. Go look at the meter and see if it is using water. Don't use water for as long as you can and then recheck the reading and see if there has been any water flowing.

Also compare you water usage with others. The water company can do this for you in most cases.
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Old 10-23-2008, 02:15 AM   #12
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


So this morning at about the same time I heard it again. I'm on vacation this week and I was up early with a bit of a tummy bug. Turned the main off, but there was still some residual noise (sewer?). Then the neighbor's freeloading daughter went to work looking like an angry drenched dog. I haven't heard the noise since, even after I turned the main back on.

I think I will shut off the water later on tonight after the wife gets off the late shift. Turns out one of the son-in-laws of the neighbor did a bunch of work for her and for the previous owner of my house (that I am still finding and fixing, like he never had the "Midas Touch"). Maybe he tapped into my lines when he built the addition onto her garage. He built her storage sheds over my property line, so why not use my water and sewer?

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Old 10-23-2008, 05:36 AM   #13
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


<He built her storage sheds over my property line, so why not use my water and sewer?>

Have you ever heard of the rights of easement? In my state, if a neighbor infringes on the property of another and this infringement is 20 years or more, then it cannot be removed by the offended property owner. Better check with an attorney to see where you stand. I once stopped a contractor who was going to drill a hole into my concrete patio for a metal fence post for my next door neighbor. we have row homes and his home sets back about 4 feet from mine.
The neighbor got mad at me as he did not understand "rights of easement". So the contractor secured the fence to the 4 foot side of my wall. An easement to do this was created by the builder of the homes on my block as there is also a large overhang attach to this wall (installed by the builder) that benefits the neighbor by protecting his entryway.

However, I hope you get this water problem solved. If your neighbor's contractor had tapped into your feed line then I believe even if its before the water meter, then it still may be illegal.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:04 AM   #14
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


This is a very interesting thread. I would be surprised (and shocked) if it turns out to be your neighbor stealing your water, but I have heard of this before. It usually happens in apartments/condos though, not single family homes.

Take a look around your house, the garage, back yard. See if you can find any mysterious pipes going out of the house.
If you think you have water theft, you should call a master plumber to have a look. If he finds it, then you should call the police!

FW
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:10 AM   #15
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I hear water running through the pipes, but...


Quote:
Originally Posted by KE2KB View Post
This is a very interesting thread. I would be surprised (and shocked) if it turns out to be your neighbor stealing your water, but I have heard of this before. It usually happens in apartments/condos though, not single family homes.

Take a look around your house, the garage, back yard. See if you can find any mysterious pipes going out of the house.
If you think you have water theft, you should call a master plumber to have a look. If he finds it, then you should call the police!

FW
I doubt there is a connection to your neighbors house, but I have seen a couple weird things before, like bypassed meters hidden in 2 feet of concrete to avoid detection.

Have you considered other appliances that may be using water... As you mentioned the swamp cooler, other ideas:
Humidifier
fridge with Ice Cube maker / water
Water Filter system (RO system)
auto fill for a hot tub or pool or fountain

Just about any of these could malfunction and start dumping water out. The RO filter system dumps water on a regular basis, and that is normal.

Good Luck
Jamie

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