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Old 06-06-2009, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
8,269 posts, read 23,874,157 times
Reputation: 5575

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Yesterday a Town Of Cary employee came to my house and told me he thinks we have a leak somewhere because our water consumption went from 17,000 gallons to 35,000 gallons (obviously there's a problem, because we haven't been using any more water). I noticed last month that my bill was higher than usual, but I also know our consumption goes up a bit in the summer, so I didn't think THAT much of it at the time.

But, 35,000 gallons is 3x what our average consumption is. He showed me that the little thingy on the water meter in the front yard was spinning around like crazy, as if we were using water right then, although no water was being used in or out of the house.

So, today my DH and a few neighbors dug up about a 3 foot hole around the meter (the thingy was still going around like crazy although we turned the water main OFF) and there does not seem to be a leak around the valve at the water meter. We don't have any water in the yard, no sinking spots, nothing under the house, we dug up the pipe right in front of the house and there was no water there. If the water was leaking as fast as the meter indicates, there's no way we wouldn't have some water somewhere.

So.....any ideas on what the problem could be and WHERE the problem could be? DO we need to have someone come in a dig up our entire yard only to be told that's not the problem? Could the problem be the meter itself and not really indicative of a leak? Should I call the town of Cary and have them figure it out or who should I call?
Thanks for any advice!
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
1,232 posts, read 3,612,307 times
Reputation: 604
Sounds like you've taken some proactive measures. However, I would most certainly contact your water service provider and tell them what your concerns about the water usage surge, how consumption hasn't changed in the home, what steps you've taken to seek out an internal leak and your suspicions that the meter could be faulty. Certainly, get someone out there (of course, any time you dig, they want to know if it's something that affects their portion of the lines).

If you find that the meter is faulty, have your bill adjusted. But if you have dug up your entire line to the main shutoff, and the shutoff valve is in working order (you turned it off and no water was flowing in the house), then it could be a meter issue. However, I, personally, wouldn't wait on it.

Good luck.
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:39 PM
 
419 posts, read 1,318,918 times
Reputation: 193
You said that you turned the main off. Do you mean that you turned the service off at the meter? If you did this and the arrow is still spinning, something is wrong with your meter. Have someone with the City take a look at the meter with the service turned off. They may get a little upset if you tell them that you turned the service off. Only they are supposed to do that.
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:54 PM
 
9,761 posts, read 28,748,673 times
Reputation: 10289
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamishra View Post
Yesterday a Town Of Cary employee came to my house and told me he thinks we have a leak somewhere because our water consumption went from 17,000 gallons to 35,000 gallons (obviously there's a problem, because we haven't been using any more water). I noticed last month that my bill was higher than usual, but I also know our consumption goes up a bit in the summer, so I didn't think THAT much of it at the time.

But, 35,000 gallons is 3x what our average consumption is. He showed me that the little thingy on the water meter in the front yard was spinning around like crazy, as if we were using water right then, although no water was being used in or out of the house.

So, today my DH and a few neighbors dug up about a 3 foot hole around the meter (the thingy was still going around like crazy although we turned the water main OFF) and there does not seem to be a leak around the valve at the water meter. We don't have any water in the yard, no sinking spots, nothing under the house, we dug up the pipe right in front of the house and there was no water there. If the water was leaking as fast as the meter indicates, there's no way we wouldn't have some water somewhere.

So.....any ideas on what the problem could be and WHERE the problem could be? DO we need to have someone come in a dig up our entire yard only to be told that's not the problem? Could the problem be the meter itself and not really indicative of a leak? Should I call the town of Cary and have them figure it out or who should I call?
Thanks for any advice!

Lamishra,

What did the Town of Cary employee indicate you should do when they came to your house to notify you of the potential problem? I would have thought they would have guided you through the process then.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Cary
240 posts, read 1,119,003 times
Reputation: 383
Does your home have a main water valve? Sometimes located just inside the front foundation wall in the crawlspace, sometimes in a closet under a stairwell, sometimes just outside the foundation wall, sometimes just inside the front door you may find a valve that shuts off the water supply to the entire house.

Newer homes are more likely to have this valve than older ones. If you don't have an accessible emergency shutoff valve, you might consider installing one to minimize water damage if you have a failure elsewhere in your home in the future.

If you can locate this valve and turn it off then you know that water is not charging the line past that point. If the small red triangle of your water meter at the street is moving, then more than likely there is a leak between the meter and your home. Unfortunately, if this is the case, the repair is at your expense.
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Old 06-06-2009, 01:53 PM
 
105 posts, read 348,481 times
Reputation: 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamishra View Post
Yesterday a Town Of Cary employee came to my house and told me he thinks we have a leak somewhere because our water consumption went from 17,000 gallons to 35,000 gallons (obviously there's a problem, because we haven't been using any more water). I noticed last month that my bill was higher than usual, but I also know our consumption goes up a bit in the summer, so I didn't think THAT much of it at the time.

But, 35,000 gallons is 3x what our average consumption is. He showed me that the little thingy on the water meter in the front yard was spinning around like crazy, as if we were using water right then, although no water was being used in or out of the house.

So, today my DH and a few neighbors dug up about a 3 foot hole around the meter (the thingy was still going around like crazy although we turned the water main OFF) and there does not seem to be a leak around the valve at the water meter. We don't have any water in the yard, no sinking spots, nothing under the house, we dug up the pipe right in front of the house and there was no water there. If the water was leaking as fast as the meter indicates, there's no way we wouldn't have some water somewhere.

So.....any ideas on what the problem could be and WHERE the problem could be? DO we need to have someone come in a dig up our entire yard only to be told that's not the problem? Could the problem be the meter itself and not really indicative of a leak? Should I call the town of Cary and have them figure it out or who should I call?
Thanks for any advice!

Ive had this problem fairly recent and my problem were the valve in my toilet...I was told that even though I may not hear my toilet running there can still be a leak...my bill shot up 4 x the amount it usually is. The best way to check this, if u suspect is the problem would be to put some food coloring or kool aid in your tank, if the color rise in ur bowl u have a faulty valve. I hope this helps, I replaced the valves in my bathroom, it was recommended by the plummer since they were put in my home at the same time. The water company gave me a deduction down to the usual amount of my bill upon confirmation that there was a problem and it has been resolved. I wish u the best....I know it is a headache
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
8,269 posts, read 23,874,157 times
Reputation: 5575
Thanks so far for everyone's imput: I will try the food coloring in the toilet today!
The Town of Cary guy didn't tell us a whole lot except to try turning the water off and see if it was still spinning and if it is, then it's probably something the homeowner is responsible for and if not, to call the Town's Utility department.
As for water shut off: DH turned the HOUSE mater main off (under our house) and the triangle kept spinning, then we turned off the water at the street (by the meter) and the valve STOPPED spinning, which supposedly tells us the leak is somewhere between the house and street :-(. We just don't know where it could be without literally digging up the whole yard and we weren't sure if there could aactually be a probem with the meter itself instead of a leak (one can hope, right?).
And, we don't know if we should call a regular plumber or call the town back and tell them we think we have leak and maybe they can provide us with someone or just what to do.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Cary
240 posts, read 1,119,003 times
Reputation: 383
Sounds like you have narrowed the leak down to the water main supply line between the meter and your main shutoff valve. Since this is on your side of the meter, it is your responsibility to maintain. The Town is responsible only for the operation of the meter. Save the receipts when you make these repairs so you can get some relief from the Water Department on your excessive water bills.

Do you know what the supply line pipe is made of? We have had some success with "cabling" a new supply line without digging up the yard if the supply pipe is made of plastic. This technique does not require excavating the yard and therefore reduces the installation cost.
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
8,269 posts, read 23,874,157 times
Reputation: 5575
I have no idea. We live in an older neighborhood, so I really don't know what the pipes are made of unfortunately!
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Old 06-07-2009, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Raleigh, NC
532 posts, read 2,730,589 times
Reputation: 412
Do you have an irrigation system? If so, could the meter be for that? We had a situation last year where our irrigation system burst underground (we never noticed any signs of soggy, wet, etc. ground). We shut off water supply to the house first and noticed the red arrow still spinning. We then shut off the water supply to the irrigation and the arrow stopped. Then we got a irrigation co. out to dig around to see where the leak was.
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