How to Detect a Water Leak Underground?

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Every homeowner should be able to identify the location of their water line and sewer line. Your property’s water pipes run beneath your foundation and connect to the city’s water main. In the event that you should experience a plumbing leak, you’ll want to have a reasonable understanding of where the leak might be located, to reduce guess work and save time on making repairs. Often times a pipe leak can go undetected for weeks or even months before obvious signs of damage. In this article we’ll help you better understand how underground pipes become compromised, signs that you might have a leak, and what to do about it.  

DIY Plumbing for  Underground Water Leak Detection:

Knowing What Causes a Leak

There are a number of factors that can attribute to an underground water leak. If you suspect that you might have a pipe that has been compromised, consider if any of the factors below apply to you.

  • Shifting Soil

Soil erosion around the perimeter of your home and lawn can put undue pressure on your underground pipes. Large tree roots can also interact with the soil and piping which might cause things to shift around. Tree roots can also penetrate through your pipes, especially pipes that are made of clay which are common in older water lines.

  • Damage from Pests

All forms of rodents like gophers, rats, and moles can damage your pipes. These animals burrow and build their nests around the home which can cause pipes to shift.

  • Wear and Tear

The wear and tear of materials like steel, iron, and PVC is inevitable. Although the use of plumbing sealant for leaks will help to extend the life of your pipes once they become compromised, eventually the pipes will need to be replaced.

  • Changes in temperature

Extreme changes in temperature can also affect the health of your pipes. The ground outside the pipe and the water inside the pipe is much colder in the winter months which leads to the pipes shrinking - putting tension on the joints. This increases the odds of a weaker pipe failing.

Underground Water Detection

Begin to inspect your home for potential leaks. This will not only minimize potential damage but it will also expedite the process of a plumber locating and fixing the problem. If you have any of the following issues surrounding your home, you might have an underground water leak:

  • Sightings of wet areas in the yard

  • A significant drop in water pressure

  • Recent cracks in the pavement

  • Dirty water coming through the faucets

  • Sinkholes

  • An increase in water bill

  • Hot spots in your yard

  • Shifts in foundation

In the absence of proper plumbing leak detection equipment, using a water meter is also a good way to determine if you have a plumbing leak. To do this be sure to first turn off all water fixtures in your home. Inspect any accessible pipes for damage, moisture, and other indications of corrosion. Once you’ve done this go check your water meter to see if the needle has moved from its previous point. If it is you have just confirmed that you do indeed have a leak. Although you might not be able to determine where exactly the leak originates from, you can take a look at your most recent water bills to determine about when the pipes might have been damaged.

Hiring a Professional Plumbing Leak Repair

After determining that you have a damaged pipe, it’s time to call a plumber to assist you in plumbing leak repair. Underground water leaks are not a DIY plumbing job and should only be left to the professionals. By providing the plumber with as much information as possible regarding the leak, you’ll reduce the time that it takes the plumber to evaluate the extent of the leak, and thus reduce the time that it will take to fix. When reviewing plumbing companies in Houston be sure to ask the following:

  • Can they handle the repairs necessary as well as underground leak detection?

  • Do they charge by the hour or have a flat-rate?

It is important to report water leaks as soon as you suspect that you have a plumbing issue. Procrastination could allow the problem to progress which overtime can lead to more damage, and thus a much higher repair bill. A damaged pipe, and the shifting of soil due to the additional moisture can also lead to the damage of other surrounding water lines.


If you suspect that you have a leaking pipe or any other type of plumbing problem? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Mission A/C and Plumbing. Give us a call at 713-520-2012, or fill out and submit a Contact Us form found here on our site whenever you’re ready.  

Efrain AyllonComment