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Pipes that transport water into your home are called water lines. Water main lines connect the plumbing infrastructure of a home or business to public infrastructure that provides clean water. Sometimes these pipes are also called private water service lines. Most homes in Atlanta, GA, have underground water mains.
Consequences of Compromised Water Lines
Underground water mains are under pressure. Leaks in a primary pipe can release a lot of water in a short time. The excess water eventually saturates surrounding soil and reaches surface level. Water flows along the path of least resistance, so surface overflow can end up in your basement or lawn, a public street, or even neighboring properties. Property owners may be responsible for water damage on a neighbor’s property.
Water line repair is more urgent than many other home maintenance issues. Almost all households use water constantly. We usually don’t even think about it, but access to safe, clean water is essential. Damaged water lines let contaminants enter your home’s water supply. You should stop drinking and cooking with water and disconnect appliances when a water line is compromised.
Unaddressed leaks can create a host of problems in a remarkably short time. Waterlogged soil shifts and forces underground pipes into new positions. The change in position greatly increases risk of additional damage.
Saturated soil can also collapse and create sinkholes in your yard. Water damage inside your home or basement encourages mold growth, and you may need to replace furniture, insulation, or electrical wiring. Restoring water damage is time consuming and expensive. Minimize potential damage by scheduling water line repair services as soon as you notice a problem.
Causes of Water Line Damage
Buried water lines are vulnerable to several types of damage. Metal pipes rust after long periods of exposure to moisture in the ground. Rocks, grit, mineral content, and pH levels in soil contribute to corrosion. Brass pipes can last up to 70 years, but galvanized steel pipes generally don’t last more than 20 years.
PVC and other nonmetal materials aren’t as vulnerable to corrosion, but they’re susceptible to other threats. Tree roots grow slowly, but they eventually break through pipe walls if given enough time. Long-term blockages in water mains lead to increased pressure that damages pipe walls.
Unfortunately, incorrect installation is also a common cause of water line damage. Pipes buried too close to the surface are subject to freezing and thawing cycles that weaken material. Incorrect pipe laying causes problems because plumbing systems are carefully designed to help water flow against gravity. Pipes in awkward positions are subjected to stress and weakened joints that reduce their functional lifetime.
Signs of a Leak
You probably won’t see leaks because most plumbing pipes aren’t visible. Leaks frequently occur in inaccessible places. Pipes run underground, under foundation slabs, or within walls. An unexplained increase on your water bill may be the first sign of a leak. Water with a brown tint may be contaminated with rust from corroded pipes. Discoloration can also come from dirt and debris entering a compromised water line.
Large or continuous leaks lead to reduced water pressure. Uneven, sporadic water flow from a faucet, hose, or other fixture means pressure has been lost somewhere. Check several fixtures to make sure the problem isn’t isolated to just one room or sink. Low water pressure throughout the house indicates a problem with water main lines. Investigate unexplained puddles of water or soggy ground around your home immediately and. Water from cracks or holes in main lines may build up in the lawn or run onto sidewalks and streets.
Cracks in your home’s foundation and crumbling cement or drywall could be signs of continuous moisture exposure. These are serious signs that require urgent water line repair, but some structural damage has already occurred by the time cracks appear.
Other signs of a leak include bubbling noises from toilets or sinks, whistling sounds within pipes, and dripping or clanking noises. Try to find the source of any sound you don’t recognize. Blockages or obstructions that cause backups in pipes can cause unpleasant odors inside the house or outside in the yard. Obstructions don’t necessarily mean a leak is present, but it is a possibility. Tree roots, dirt and debris can enter and obstruct compromised water lines.
Verify leaky plumbing by shutting off every faucet and fixture and watching your meter. You probably have a leak if the meter indicates water is still flowing after you’ve completed the shut off. This method confirms the existence of a leak, but it does nothing to help you find the leak. Professional plumbers have the experience and tools to locate leaks quickly and complete water line repairs.
Why You Need Professional Water Line Repair
Most water line repair jobs are best left to professionals. Underground pipes should be buried 12-inches below the frost line, which is between 5 and 10 inches in Atlanta, GA. Pipes installed in accordance with the 12-inch rule are buried 17 to 22 inches below the surface. Many property owners aren’t entirely sure where underground pipes are located.
Plumbers with experience in water line repair use ultrasonic leak detection equipment to quickly find buried pipes. Sometimes water lines aren’t buried deep enough. Pipes at shallow depths are susceptible to frost damage. The idea of re-burying pipes at the appropriate depth may not sound appealing, but proactive action can prevent emergencies later. Burst or cracked pipes have to be addressed immediately, no matter how inconvenient the timing may be. Ask your local plumber if water line repair services include reburying shallow pipes.
Contact Peach Plumbing & Drain for professional water line repair services. You can also schedule routine maintenance to catch problems early and keep your plumbing in good working order.