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Old 09-14-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
davidinnm
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Default might have a buried leak

other day started hearing a low noise like water running in a bathroom. The meter though isn't turning or at least the leak indicator doesn't turn. Using a mechanics stethoscope at the pipes they are noisy like a hissing sound. Something really strange is if I shutoff the valve to the water heater input the noise gets really loud and you can hear it near the wall itself but the meter doesn't show any evidence of water running. My water heater is connected to the pipes with flexible connections which are not metal so the water heater isn't bonded to the pipes. That concerns me as well since we are also seeing purple and sometimes black like stuff coming out of the bath faucets. The water heater is new this year. I'm worried something is happening with the anode and the water heater needs to be electrically bonded to the pipes. Or my copper pipes have all corroded to a point they are just now spitting out this stuff. I have single handle faucets everywhere so the hot and cold lines are electrically connected there. I'm going to take a photo of the water meter and be sure nothing is running anywhere in the house and wait a few hours and take another photo and post the results. Could a pin hole leak make a lot of noise in the lines yet not move the meter or not move it quickly? If I put the stethoscope on the inlet to the water heater it is silent but the outlet from the water heater has the same noise.



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Old 09-14-2013, 05:51 PM   #2
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Okay meter at street does show a very small leak. The little wheel moves only slightly and rarely. I'm thinking the entire plumbing in the two bath area is old and not to be trusted now with the blue stuff in the water. I'm wondering about going through the attic with new lines. Need to talk with insurance and plumbers. I might be able to do it myself but not sure. I will need to find out where the feeds come up through the slab that service the baths. I see the two showers have lines running through the walls so think perhaps the two feed lines come up somewhere then the fixtures are fed by runs in the walls. I also think insurance will only pay for the one leak but worry this will be an ongoing problem.



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Old 09-14-2013, 10:51 PM   #3
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Most insurance company's will pay to make repairs for accessing the leak but won't pay for the repair to the pipe. There is a company called American Leak Detection that will locate and make a temporary repair to the line. If it's under the slap they will locate it leaving a small hole to repair. You will need to have a permanent repair done to the line.

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Old 09-15-2013, 03:09 AM   #4
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Thanks in fact talked to American yesterday to get an idea of the cost just in case. Now this is strange. I just dug through my boneyard box full of ancient technology and found a cassette tape recorder and a microphone. I got some ear buds and fired it up wondering if I could use it in record mode to hear the sound of the leak and maybe find a general location for it. So I head to the bath with the gear and touch the shower control metal plate with the mike and hear nothing. I got under the sink and touch the hot shut off valve that was always loud and nothing. So go get the stethoscope and check again and nothing. Dead silence. About an hour ago I had just taken a shower and a big pile of black stuff spewed out of the spigot. I hope this isn't toxic but just get showering and watched all this stuff go down the drain. I am so confused with all this now. I did install a 1/4 turn shutoff valve at the output of the water heater to allow us to stop wasting water if there is a leak at night. It is possible the tiny gyrations I see at the main meter in the leak indicator is pressure variations at the street. i have never see any significant movement in that indicator. It's like looking at a painting and thinking the faces eyes moved. Perhaps still a pin hole leak and some of this black crud has sealed if for now.

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Old 09-15-2013, 04:23 AM   #5
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If you can turn the water off at the meter. Let is sit for five min. without using any water. Then turn it on. If you have a leak you should hear the water re-entering the lines along with a jump of the meter.

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Old 09-25-2013, 01:23 AM   #6
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I valved off everything the other night except the hot water line from the water heater. Sprinkler valves ice make everything. Toilets quiet. I measured the meter at the beginning and it was 55508 and seven hours later it was 55516. The lowest two digits are red and the other three are black. I called the water company to ask how to read it. It says units are ft^3. So in seven hours that's 8 ft^3 or about 60 gallons. I am so confused by this because I would imagine water running out the front door at that rate. I'm certain it is on the hot side or perhaps this could happen. I have single handle faucets throughout. One in the bath where I hear all the sounds leaks across between the hot and cold sides. I suppose it is possible for hot water to find a parallel path through that faucet and join cold water going out a cold water leak. I doubt it though because I had the copper sulfate coming out the tub on the hot side. There is no more of that coming out anywhere though. Sometimes the pipes are totally silent. Dead silent. Other times I can hear it in the air else need stethoscope touching the pipes. Perhaps stuff plugs the hole. I wonder if I could find it with a FLIR camera? Do those work? I doubt it could detect it through the slab and carpet if that is where it is. I'm willing to spend the detection cost toward equipment because I think this old house will have more of these. I'd have a plumbing make the patch but if I could locate and expose it that would save a lot. Oh I installed a 3/4 1/4 turn valve at the outlet of the water heater and shut it off when we don't need hot water. I do hear water rushing though the valve as I open it with the stethoscope.

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Old 09-25-2013, 01:34 AM   #7
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Did you try turning off the main and turning back on after a five min.?

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Old 09-25-2013, 02:51 AM   #8
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John got sidetracked on the water heater shut off so just went out and did your test. I shut the main off for 5 minutes then back on. The leak indicator spun rapidly and the red needle moved about 1/10th ft^3.

I'm going to shutoff the water heater outlet and do it again while at it.

Back later after doing the same thing but with water heater outlet valve shut off. This time the red needle (1/10 ft^3) didn't move and the leak indicator spun about three times and stopped quickly.

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Old 09-25-2013, 03:44 AM   #9
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It sounds like the leak is in the cold water side. You can try to locate it yourself, but the best thing would be to call a leak detection company.

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Old 09-26-2013, 04:38 AM   #10
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The least was with the hot side turned off. Only a very small and short movement of the leak indicate when it was off. I borrowed an IR thermometer. I found a hot tile in the entry way. I used dousing rods to track the pipe. It runs from the water heater and does a run across the entry way and a wide turn toward the main bathroom shower. That's the one with the clump of copper sulfate coming out the faucet. This is great if true. It's 85F on that tile and drops off around it toward 73 everywhere else. I'm going to measure it in the morning after the hot water has been off all night. The tile is against a bedroom closet. I think it would be best to try and punch a small hole down into that area from within the closet and check for water first. I ordered one of those hear through wall gizmos on Ebay that will be something I can listen across that tile before drilling. If its there will need to get a plumber to splice or patch or whatever because code here only allows plumbers to do things that will be buried. Thanks for the advice here. I'll post results and maybe a picture showing the sinkhole under my house.



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