Home>Discussions>PLUMBING>Locate water line leak
16 posts / 0 new
Last post
Locate water line leak

I have a leak in the water line somewhere between the house and the well (600 feet away). I'm guessing it's at one of the splices in the black plastic pipe; does anyone know of an effective, preferably less expensive method to locate the break in the line? No, I haven't seen any geysers spouting up or new ponds on the lawn.


Re: Locate water line leak

If you don't have any wet spots are you sure the leak isn't at the pitless adapter in the well casing?

Re: Locate water line leak

What are the symptoms which lead you to believe there's a leak?

Re: Locate water line leak

the well guy came out and pressure tested the pump. he also put another check valve just below the pitless adapter. when I shut off the main inside the basement we can hear water running back from the house toward the well. with a check valve at the other end and a pump putting out 100 psi the only place the water can be going is into the ground, no?

So, any thoughts on how to locate the leak?

Re: Locate water line leak

What about hiring a company to do an underground water leak
inspection? try this site...

Re: Locate water line leak

Note.......All comments presume a submersible pump. If you have a two-pipe deep-well jet-pump, other possibilities emerge that would/could cause trickling noises without anything actually being wrong. With 600' of supply line......I'm gonna presume for the time being that you have a submersible.

when I shut off the main inside the basement we can hear water running back from the house toward the well.

FWIW, turning off the supply valve in the basement *should* actually be irrelevant as concerns hearing water trickling back to the wellhead ........or trickling/leaking somewhere. The water in the pipe should be under pressure whether the valve is open or closed.

with a check valve at the other end and a pump putting out 100 psi the only place the water can be going is into the ground, no?

Not intending to nitpick your post or thoughts/observations on the matter, but...... what psi the pump is putting out or capable of putting out is pretty much irrelevant. If there were no pump there at all, it would be irrelevant as concerns a hole/leak in the system. It's the integrity of the piping and the check valve(s), in this instance, that will determine whether or not the assembly leaks.

That being said, it does sound like you're narrowing things down to the supply line from house to well. Not knowing your exact arrangement and whether the pressure tank is in the basement, in a wellpit that's somewhere between the basement and the well.....or right there at the well...........I can't rule out a potential problem with the tank or it's air/water volume control unit (if it has one)....unless that tank is in a location where you can see/inspect it easily and therefore know that it's not leaking or has some other problem. (I know some folks locally who have a pressure tank that is literally buried underground in the dirt. No wellpit. If you didn't know that it's there, you'd never find it. Stupid arrangement which rots out about every ten years.)

I presume you had this plumber out because you initially suspected a leak or knew something was wrong because the wellpump was cycling without any known/requested drawdown on your part.....or something similar. ???

I guess he didn't pressure test the supply line back to the house cause you didn't mention that he did. That woulda confirmed a leak in that line or confirmed no-leak there.

You're sure that the leak isn't right at the pitless adpater? If that o-ring gets buggered, it'll leak for sure. Maybe someone already observed the PA while the pump charged the system and so you know there's likely no leak there.

I guess I'd pressure test that line to the house with a compressor and a gauge to be sure. Again, I don't know what your actual arrangment is, but doing so may require that you yank the pitless adpater again. No fun. Or maybe your arrangement provides for another place/way to get coupled up or plugged up at the well or wellpit without having to do that. Coupling/t-fitting with pressure gauge and air fitting on one end of the line and a plug on the other end of the supply line. Take it up to 30-40 psi and see what happens. It either holds the pressure or it leaks away. If it leaks down, make sure it isn't your test couplings or plug. (If you leave the air compressor hooked up during the test in order to use it's integral gauge....make sure neither the hose or couplings there have any leaks or you'll get fooled)

If there is a leak and it hasn't shown up on the ground yet, I guess the Thermo-Scan offerings may be the way to go. Can't think of a bettter way right now when there's 600' of line in play. Thermo-Scan or similar won't likely be cheap, but neither is digging up 600' of line or trenching in a new one beside it.

Wish I had something better to offer, but can't think of anything right now. Other than........I'd be dang sure the "leak" is there before you committ to fixes.

PS- You might try contacting one or several of your local well-drilling oufits to see if they have any means of finding leaks or other suggestions. If nothing else, they may know someone locally who does have equipment to find the leak.

Another possibility comes to mind which is that the original well setup had a bleeder & snifter valve arrangement. Putting a check valve just below the PA would render the bleeder valve moot, but if the accompanying snifter valve is still in front of the new check valve ......and......that snifter is malfunctioning (leaking water) then that would cause trickling noises as well as allowing the system pressure to drop and causing the wellpump to refill the system when enough water leaked from the snifter. Just a thought.

One more thought, although it probably doesn't apply......... This doesn't happen to be a Morrison wellhead does it? If it is, it should say Morrison right on the wellhead. If it is a Morrison, those will always produce trickling sounds for a while after the wellpump shuts down as the water standing in the line is supposed to drain back into the pressure tank. If the pressure tank is somewhere between the well and the basement, you'd still hear these noises radiate thru the supply line in the basement.

Re: Locate water line leak

Just an update:
Had a backhoe out there yesterday and first dug out next to the well casing to be sure the leak wasn't at the PA. Then we dug and found the line about 50 feet from the well, cut the line, pressure tested it to be sure the leak was between the cut and the well, and replaced the 50' of line in a new ditch.

Overall, not too big a deal, wrapped it up in about 4 or 5 hours and didn't have to spend too much. Thank goodness we were able to isolate the leak on the first try.

Thanks for the advice; case closed.

Re: Locate water line leak

Good deal. Glad you were able to fix it semi-easily.

Many/most folks on city water think that those of us with private wells get "free water". If only they knew what's involved and how much it actually costs for all that "free water". ;)

Re: Locate water line leak

Having a plumber pull up 385' of pipe to replace the pump & then replace the pressure tank doesn't cost much. It's almost free if you don't count the electricity it costs to keep my four woman/girls in showers. Luckily the dog doesn't get a bath often.
At least the water doesn't doesn't have clorine, floride or lead in it like the town folk. So far no MBTE from the gas station leak a mile down the road either.
Don't forget no sewer fees out in the country.
Lovin' the good life. Just wish it cost a bit less at times.;)

Re: Locate water line leak

Don't forget no sewer fees out in the country.

Yup. We just move the outhouse every ten years or so. ;)

Showers? Ya'll take showers? Too expensive for us. We bathe in the creek. If you're lucky you can grab a trout for supper while you're in there. :D

Breakfast is usually compliments of all those free-range chickens roaming wild around the countryside. :D

Re: Locate water line leak
ed21 wrote:

Don't forget no sewer fees out in the country.

You must not live in MD. We get to pay a sewer fee even though we have a septic system. Part of our previous Gov.'s payoff to some lobby group. :mad:


Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.