In a previous article, we discussed the importance of investigating water line leaks. Water line leaks can be hard to diagnose inside and outside of your home. It is crucial to diagnose and locate the water line leak. If left untreated, the leak could cause significant damage to you and/or your neighbor’s residence. This article provides a brief overview of the process involved in repairing some types water line leaks and the different methods of repair.
Shut Off Valves
Shut off valves are the most common leak we service in our community. Typically, the shut off valve to your house is located before or just after the water meter either in your basement or out near the street. Ball valves tend to corrode over time or fail with years of usage. There are a couple different ways to resolve a leaking shut off valve. You can try tightening the packing nut and checking for leaks but slowly turning the valve on and off. Another solution is to replace the valve entirely. This involves a professional cutting the valve off the existing copper line and reinstalling a new valve. The technician will typically check for any other signs of leaks on and around the water meter and shut off valve. This is a relatively easy fix and will not break the bank in terms of water line repair.
Curb Box Leaks
A curb stop is the water main shut off located outside your home typically close to the street or wherever the main connects to your home’s water line. Curb box repairs are not the homeowners responsibility and require your local utility company to come out diagnose and repair. Plumbing outfits will also refer customers to the utility company to repair curb box leaks because it is the utility companies responsibility. If you’re experiencing a water line leak and the plumber hired cannot turn off the curb box with a special key, it will need to be repaired by the utility company so that the leak can be isolated and located for diagnosis and repair. Curb boxes are essential to controlling water from the water main to your home. If there is ever an emergency water line issue, it is imperative that the curb box is in working order to mitigate any damage that may occur from a water line break or leak.
If you have a leak in your line, a spot repair might be all that is required. This is mainly for small leaks in a copper line. A technician will have to diagnose and locate the leak first. This may require additional services from a company like American Leak Detection depending on the complexity of locating the leak. Once the leak is located and marked out, a PA One call (811) is required by law to make sure whomever may be working on site does not accidentally dig up or damage any other utilities that may be located adjacent to the leaking water line. This can take up to 3 days before a crew is allowed to dig onsite. As soon as the One Call is cleared and a lawful start date has been reached, a crew will come out to your property, dig down to the water line, cut out the defective part and replace it with a new copper section. This sounds like a simple job at first but the process can take time to follow through properly and lawfully.
This repair is not what it sounds like but it does share some similarity to the animal it is named after. When your water line is considered so defective or broken that it requires a long length of line to be installed, a special tool called a mole is used to run the new water line without digging up your entire yard. This is also known as “impact moling” or “shooting a mole.” Just like any other excavation work, a PA One Call is lawfully required in order to proceed with the work. A technician will assess and mark out the location of the leak. They will then proceed to make the One Call asking that all other utilities be identified and marked appropriately. After the lawful start date has been reached, two pits will be dug determining the start and end of the new section of line. A powerful pneumatic head (the mole) is used to literally punch a small hole through the earth to the second pit. Once the hole has been made, the new line is attached and pulled back through the hole and connected to the existing water line. This process saves time and does not require anywhere near the amount of yard restoration that a traditional water line excavation job would require. A video link to the process can be found by clicking on this link.
If you find yourself in need of water line repair or suspect you may have a water line leak, give us a call at 412-835-2135 or click here to schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled technicians. If you are interested in learning more about water line leaks or educating yourself on various aspects of the plumbing repair industry please visit our Resources page or click the link here. We encourage everyone to take a look at our reviews on Google. Remember, “There’s no charge if not resolved, call Mister Sewer problem solved.”