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How to Inspect for Outdoor Pipe Leaks

Plumbing leaks inside the home are generally spotted easily. But what about outside leaks? Your sewer line and outdoor pipe systems can leak just as easily as your indoor ones, but can be much harder to spot! 

The expert plumbers at HVAC Unlimited are back again, bringing you potentially money and stress-saving tips on how to locate and diagnose outdoor pipe leaks. Don’t wait until a minor drip turns into a leaking nightmare!

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Signs You Have a Pipe Leak

Pipe leaks can be a confounding problem, especially if you don’t know they’re there! Here are some telltale signs that you may have a pipe leak:

  • Water bill is skyrocketing. The biggest sign of them all. You usually have a pretty good idea of what your average water bill looks like. A swing by small percentages is normal, especially if you have guests in your home. But if your bill is doubling, you’ve got a leak somewhere.
  • Unaccounted puddling. Strange pools of water popping up in your yard is a sure sign that something is wrong. If there are any water fixtures nearby, like a sprinkler system or hose, check those first. But if there’s nothing like that nearby, your problem probably lies in the sewer line.
  • Strange smells. Funky odors and an increase in common pests like flies and mosquitos can be a clear sign that your sewer line has incurred damage.
  • Odd fixture behavior. Getting odd hiccups from your toilet when flushing, or water coming back up in the sink or shower indicates one of two things: a pipe clog, or sewer line damage.

How to Inspect Outdoor Pipes

Checking your pipes for leaks is a sure way to spot your problem. Additionally, we’d call it a good practice to check them routinely regardless. Catching a problem and getting plumbing repair early on can save you a lot of money and frustration in the long run! A simple check involves:

  • Checking for drips. Do a quick visual and tactile inspection over all above-ground pipes. This includes outdoor fixtures, hose connections, and your water meter. If you spot any amount of dripping, call in a professional right away.
  • Checking for pipe damage. Cracks in a pipe, no matter how small, are a huge problem. Left alone, these cracks will grow, eventually leading to a pretty severe leak, or even permanent pipe damage. This goes doubly so in the colder months, as water in the crack will rapidly expand and create a burst pipe.
  • Checking for corrosion or rust. Rust spreads like a disease along metal surfaces. If it’s not much, remove the rust and clean the pipe. If it’s a bunch, get the pipe replaced.

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