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Old 02-10-2011, 04:16 PM   #1
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No water in house


Last night we went to bed and the water (we have city water) was working fine. Wake up this morning and we have no water at all. We live in St. Louis and it was cold last night, so my first thought was frozen pipes.

The water company comes out and checks the water meter and says the meter isn't frozen and says there is water moving. He claims it's a leak somewhere. Prior to their coming, I had been under the house twice and there is no leak in the water pipes under the house. There is also no leak in the house, at least of any great flow since there is no water on the floor, etc. in the house near any pipes.

If there is a leak as the water co suspects, it must be underground between the water meter and the pipe running into the house. This is quite an issue since the ground is frozen solid here.

What's weird to me is that the leak would arise/exacerbate in less than 8 hours. We go from water last night to none the next morning. That sounds more like a frozen pipe than a leak because of the sudden nature of the onset of the problem. I'm also curious how an underground leak could become severe enough to stop all water flow so quickly. However, I am not even an amateur plumber, so I obviously could be way off. Any thoughts/suggestions would be helpful and appreciated. Thank you in advance.

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Old 02-10-2011, 04:22 PM   #2
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I should also point out that there are no trees between the water meter and the house along the water line, so a tree root shouldn't be the problem...that is if they grow/expand during the winter anyway...

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Old 02-10-2011, 04:49 PM   #3
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No water in house


Working for a city in the Public Works Department, it is entirely possible to have a break between the main and your meter. In our city, if the break is between your house and the shutoff (aka, Buffalo-Box or B-Box), it's your problem.

When a break/leak happens, it sometimes just happens all at once - so the 8-hour timeframe wouldn't matter. It does sound a lot like a frozen pipe to me as well, but the supply lines coming into your house should be buried below the frost line.

Dumb questions:
Have you tried multiple faucets?
Have you tried the shutoffs & drains near the water meter in your basement/crawlspace?
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Old 02-10-2011, 04:59 PM   #4
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No water in house


Quote:
What's weird to me is that the leak would arise/exacerbate in less than 8 hours. We go from water last night to none the next morning. That sounds more like a frozen pipe than a leak because of the sudden nature of the onset of the problem. I'm also curious how an underground leak could become severe enough to stop all water flow so quickly
Ayuh,... My guess is it Froze, then split the pipe,...
Ice plugged it up, 'n the expansion broke it...
It should be bubblin' up in your yard soon, if it ain't already....

The Water Dept. said the meter's Spinnin',.. Right,..??
The break Has to be downstream....
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:07 PM   #5
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I have tried all faucets in the house. No water anywhere.

Have you tried the shutoffs & drains near the water meter in your basement/crawlspace?

As a less than unskilled person in this field, Im not entirely sure I know what you mean here. I've shut off the valve in the house and turned it back on, with nothing happening. I don't know of any meter in the crawlspace. The meter that the water co checked is out by the street, and it comes into the house roughly 100 feet from the meter. All that's at the house is a pipe coming up from underground (though outside the house itself).

I suppose its possible that the section of pipe that is above the frost line could have frozen? Though we've had colder nights than last night this winter and there was no freeze.

Thank you.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #6
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No water in house


Ayuh,... My guess is it Froze, then split the pipe,...
Ice plugged it up, 'n the expansion broke it...
It should be bubblin' up in your yard soon, if it ain't already....

Below the frost line though? I guess this assumes whoever installed the pipes did in fact put it below that. Problem is here in St Louis there's an inch of ice on the ground so there's no way to see water bubbling up to the surface...

The Water Dept. said the meter's Spinnin',.. Right,..??
The break Has to be downstream....


Yes, though they said not much water is moving...if that matters.

Thank you.
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Old 02-10-2011, 05:23 PM   #7
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No water in house


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As a less than unskilled person in this field, Im not entirely sure I know what you mean here.
Frost get's deeper, the longer it's Cold....
Especially where it's plowed/ shoveled, 'n driven on....

My Guess is, you need to find a Plumber,...
Preferably 1 with a Back-hoe....
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Old 02-10-2011, 06:17 PM   #8
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"dls6w4" : Have YOU actually been out to the meter to see the needle/dial moving as the water company employee stated? Just me---I would have to see it. IF it is indeed moving and you see no water coming from any outlet, either inside or outside, then you probably do have an underground leak. Estimate how the direction the line goes to enter the home, walk this area slowly. You may be able to "feel" soft ground which would be wetter than other areas, even with the ice. Good Luck.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:50 PM   #9
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No water in house


Thank you to all who replied with thoughts. Apparently it was a freeze as the 40 degree day we're experiencing here today did the trick. Water is back on. Thanks again.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:07 AM   #10
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No water in house


You still have a leak
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:45 AM   #11
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No water in house


Quote:
Originally Posted by plumberinlaw View Post
You still have a leak
" Can't wait to hear about the water bill next month".

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