Detecting an underground water leak can be difficult, and it can cause extensive damage and result in costly repairs when left untreated.

If your water bill has sharply risen and there’s no visible leak in your pipes, an underground leak could be the culprit. One of your underground pipes could be broken and leaking.

Here’s a blog post on how to tell if you have a water leak underground.

How to tell if you have an underground water leak

An underground water leak can go unnoticed for many months, especially if the leak is slow. Many signs, however, can allow you to determine if your underground pipes are leaking. For instance, water pooling in your yard can indicate a leak.

Here are some other telltale signs.

1. High water bills

If your water bills have increased significantly and you haven’t noticed any visible pipe leaks, chances are you have an underground water leak. This is, of course, given that there have been no major changes in your household’s water consumption, but you’re having to pay more than usual.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends tracking water usage during the colder months. If your household consumes over 12,000 gallons of water in one month, you should inspect your pipes for leaks.

2. Low water pressure 

Another way for how to tell if you have a water leak underground is low water pressure. If you notice water supply has become sparse due to low pressure and your municipality hasn’t communicated about it, your pipes could be clogged, ruptured, or eroded.

You’ll know it’s an underground leak when all the plumbing pipes inside the house are in good condition. The chances of it being an underground leak increase when there’s construction nearby.

3. Unexplained puddling in your lawn

When you notice standing water on your lawn during a season that isn’t rainy or snowy, there could be an underground leak.

For example, suppose your yard’s water line leaks. All the water flowing out will likely rise to the surface eventually to form puddles when the soil can’t absorb it all.

Any water seeping from the ground signifies a significant leak in the underground water line. You’ll need to repair it quickly before the problem worsens and causes an increase in your bills and potential property damage.

4. Water meter discrepancies

When it comes to how to tell if you have an underground water leak, evaluate your water meter readings. First, locate the meter along your home’s curb—it should be secured inside a box with a lid. Next, turn off the main water shut-off valve and check if the meter is still running.

If your meter has a leak indicator that spins even when there’s no water usage, your pipes could be leaking. If your water meter lacks an indicator, you can calculate meter readings manually to evaluate discrepancies and identify underground water leaks.

5. Excess moisture in the soil

If the soil around your home seems unstable due to increased water content (and it hasn’t rained recently), it could be a sign of an underground pipe leak. The soil around the leaking point often gets saturated with water and is signified by greener grass growing on soil.

If you suspect an underground leak around the moist soil, dig through the dirt and check if it soon after becomes filled with water. If it does and there are underground pipes around the area, chances are you have a leaking pipe.

6. Cracking house foundation

So how can you tell if you have an underground water leak? A cracking house foundation. One issue of excess water underground is that it can quickly destabilize soil, compromising a building’s integrity. 

For instance, if there’s an underground leak under your concrete slab, the leaking water will seep into the foundation and cause it to crack. If you leave the leak unattended for a prolonged period, it will weaken the entire structure of the house. It may even cause the walls to crack.

Check your foundation regularly for moisture indicators.

7. Damp walls and flooring

Another sign of a potential underground leak is damp flooring or walls. At some point, you may start smelling mildew when the leak remains active for a prolonged period of time. Your wall can also become dampened by underground water leaks. 

If not repaired on time, the excess moisture can damage your walls and other items around it. Unfortunately, homeowner’s insurance will only cover the cost of water damage and not pipe repairs.

8. Unexplained sounds of running water

For how to tell if you have a water leak underground, consider whether you’ve noticed the sound of running water.

Water runs through a home’s main water lines constantly, but since it moves within a closed plumbing system, it muffles the sound. If a pipe cracks and the system becomes compromised, you’ll start hearing the sound of moving water.

If this happens and you haven’t turned on any faucet or valve in your home, you could be experiencing a leak. The running water may make unusual sounds, such as hissing, whistling, dripping, or spraying sounds within the pipes.

J. Blanton Plumbing can fix leaking underground pipes

Now that you know how to tell if you have a water leak underground, it’s important to note that fixing leaking underground pipes is complicated and requires a professional plumber. Thankfully, expert plumbers at J. Blanton Plumbing can help you.

Contact us today to schedule an inspection of your underground water pipes for leaks.