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Underground pipes: Could yours be leaking?


Soon enough, the spring thaw will defrost the frozen ground, and along with it, any frozen pipes on your property. As a homeowner, you’re not only responsible for the pipes in your home—you are also responsible for any service lines on your property, including water piping to a public water supply. It’s important to keep an eye out for signs of these pipes leaking in the spring, so that you don’t end up with a burst pipe and a lot of property damage on your hands. Here are a few tips to help you spot the signs of a leaky underground pipe.

1.    Areas of your lawn are unusually wet

If water is leaking from an underground pipe on your property, the soil around it will likely become saturated with water. You might be able to spot a very green spot of grass that you’re not actively watering, or water filling in a hole that you dig. 

2.    Your basement suddenly leaks, but there wasn’t a storm

If the soil around your home becomes saturated with water, it can start coming into your basement, likely from one side of your home. If you start to notice moisture in your basement that is not a result of a rain storm or snow melting, you may have a leak.

3.    Your water pressure suddenly drops

A sudden drop in water pressure or water flow volume can be caused by a leak in your pipes. If there isn’t evidence of a leak inside your home, it could be due to an underground pipe.

4.    Your driveway starts cracking

If a pipe is leaking under your driveway, you may notice changes to your driveway pavement. If your pavement starts heaving or cracking, you could have an underground pipe leak.

5.    Your water bill skyrockets

A water leak will cause your water use to increase, making your water bills spike. If you notice an inexplicable spike, this could also be a sign of a leak somewhere on your property.

If you notice one of these signs and suspect a leak, there’s a simple test you can do to confirm your suspicions. 

  1. Go through your house and turn off every faucet, fixture and appliance that uses water. 

  2. Look at your water gauge and make note of where the needle is. 

  3. Leave your water shut off for 30 minutes and then take another look at the gauge. 

  4. If the needle has moved, you likely have leaky plumbing. 

Once you notice a water leak, call your utilities provider right away and ask them to shut off the water to your home, then have a professional inspect and assess the leak.

Make sure you’re prepared for leaky pipes by ensuring you have service line coverage in your home insurance policy. Service line coverage will cover damage and repair for a service line failure, such as a failure in water piping, sewer piping, or power lines. Call an OTIP broker today at 1-800-267-6847 to ensure you have service line coverage included on your home insurance policy.

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