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7 Signs of a Damaged Water Main or Water Line

shower with weak water pressure

Your home’s plumbing is comprised of two systems: the water supply system and the drain-waste system. Your home’s water main is the primary pipe that brings treated water to your home from the public water supply. Branching off of the water main are multiple water lines that direct water to various points of use in your home, such as your faucets, dishwasher, and washing machine.

If something damages part of your water supply system, this could create multiple problems for your household:

  • Your water quality could be compromised if dirt or other contaminants get into the pipes.

  • A leak can develop, causing wasted water, high water bills, mold issues, and a lot of water damage.

For these reasons, you should never delay a water main or water line repair, and you should watch out for the warning signs below.


1. Dirty, Rusty, or Bad-Smelling Water

If your water main has broken underground, dirt can start infiltrating your clean water supply. If your water has more of a reddish or rusty tint, then this indicates that your pipes are undergoing some pretty severe corrosion. In either case, your water may become unsafe to drink, so it’s critical to get a repair as soon as possible.

2. Unusually High Water Bill

Even if there aren’t any visible signs of a problem, your water bill can help you spot trouble. If you notice that your bills have been unusually high, and you can’t think of any reasonable explanation for it, this often means that there’s a hidden leak in your home. You’ll likely need a plumber with professional leak detection equipment to locate the source of the issue.

3. Puddles in the Front Yard

Soggy, wet patches in your yard may just be the result of heavy rains and poor drainage. However, if these puddles don’t go away, there’s a pretty good chance that a pipe is leaking underground right around that location.

4. Wet Spots on Floors, Walls or Ceilings

Damp floors and wet or bubbling patches on walls and ceilings are sure signs of a hidden leak. If the leak is in your foundation, you might also see water leaking up through the floor or walls of your basement. Turn off your home’s water at the main shutoff valve to keep the issue from worsening, and call a plumber.

5. Low Water Pressure

If you’re experiencing low water pressure from only one plumbing fixture, the good news is that it may only be that particular plumbing fixture that needs a repair. However, if water pressure is weak throughout your home, then some water is probably escaping through a leak in the main or one of the other water supply lines.

6. Potholes or Sinkholes

Your home’s water main may run underneath your driveway or a sidewalk on your property. If an underground leak in the water main occurs, this can make the soil beneath the pavement both soggy and unstable. If the ground gets weak enough, this can lead to the formation of potholes.

7. Sounds of water running

Sometimes a hidden leak is loud enough for you to hear it. It may sound like running water, constant dripping, a delicate stream, or even a softly babbling brook. If none of your water-using appliances are in use, and if no one is using water in your home when you hear these sounds, then they are cause for concern.

Bottom Line

Water main and water line leaks aren’t always easy to identify, but understanding the signs above will help you know when it’s time to call a professional. Remember: leaking water mains don’t just damage your property, but they can also present a health hazard. If in doubt, call a plumber to investigate.

When it comes to Michael's Plumbing Service, a solution is just a phone call away. Call (615) 645-2322 to schedule a free inspection!