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Discussion Starter #1
I am having issues with my water main that are confusing to me.

I'll summarize the history briefly:

I get a high water bill one month. So I go out to the sidewalk meter and check it. It's running slightly. And there are no fixtures on. I close the main valve in my basement. Meter is still running. That indicates, I am told, that I have a leaky water main pipe in my yard between my house and the sidewalk. City replaces their section - the 2 foot section right under the sidewalk. Meter still runs, even when the valve in basement is closed.

I begin digging up my yard in preparation of having the pipe replaced. I dig up a few feet all the way to where the pipe enters my house. And I also dig up the other end where my pipe meets the city pipe at the sidewalk.

The next day, I check the meter again. It's not running. Even when the valve in my basement is open. I check it for three straight days with my basement valve open. It's not running.

I put the dirt back.

I check meter again three days later. And it's running again. I close the valve in the basement, and the meter is still running. For the last five days.

I am wondering if possible there is a problem with my valve in the basement? Like it's not closing completely when I turn it? And if I have a leaky toilet, or leaky faucet, that's why the meter is still running?

I don't care to dig a trench again, and have the meter stop running.

Any info appreciated.
 

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GC/Master Plumber/Mech
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IFrom the brief story I would think you have a leaking water service entrance.

Try shutting off the valve in the house and open the lowest faucet and when the water pressure goes away and there is no dripping see if the meter is moving. If there is no dripping then this rules out the bad shut off valve.

If it is constantly moving you should start to see the gound soft sometimes not. If you know how the entrance is run get a probing rod and probe sometimes you will be able to pull mud up on the rod sometimes not. I had an entrance at the meter 9' dt deep.

Something you might not rule out is that you have a bad meter..yes it happens. Ask the city to replace it. Might even lower you water bill.

More than likely it's the service line.

How old is the line and what is it? PVC, Copper, Galv ect
 

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Checking your main water valve for having sealed fully: Do you get absolutely no flow from faucets in a half hour period after you turned it off?

Toilets might not have shut off after refilling from a flush. Turn off the individual shut off valve for a toilet and see if the tank water level drops in an hour's time indicating the flapper or ball wasn't sealing well. This too can require more than one trial since the flapper could seal better after some flushes than others (at random). If the flapper is more than a few years old, you might replace it for good measure.

If you turn off the inlet to the water heater (should be a valve there) you can narrow down where a possible leak is, namely not in the hot water portion of the plumbing. Assuming that this valve seals well. (When turning off the water, also turn off the heating for the water heater and don't turn the heating back on until hot water faucets are turned on and gushing water.)
 

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You might want to check and see if your neighbors are not tap into your water line. Only reason I mention it is because I have run across this a few times. Not to say that this was done on purpose but back in the day they use to allow it if the two houses were owned by the same person.
 

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You might want to check and see if your neighbors are not tap into your water line. Only reason I mention it is because I have run across this a few times. Not to say that this was done on purpose but back in the day they use to allow it if the two houses were owned by the same person.

That is a good point Al. I had one of those found it when we went to replace the entrance
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the info. I did turn off the valve in my basement, and also opened the lowest tap. And after 20 or so minutes, the tap stopped. But the meter continued to run. I now am convinced that my water main pipe has a leak.
 

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It should be obvious when you get near the leak. The ground will be much wetter. You may have disturbed the line enough to stop the leak while digging.
 
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