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Old 11-19-2014, 04:47 PM   #21
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Yep it is not a big deal. Could be worse. I was looking for info on a project I worked on where the road construction crew broke a 72" diameter water main. Couldn't find any info, but that was a big leak. But here's a bigger one - it drained the water tower.

Water main break drains Western Springs water tower - Chicago Tribune
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:51 PM   #22
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I found a soggy area in the yard which identified my leak. Since there was another water cut-off at the meter, I was able to repair myself once I did a bit of digging to find the leak so no real cost for repair other than supplies. If your yard is frozen, maybe you can find a spot that is not completely frozen due to the water leak.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:55 PM   #23
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If your yard is frozen, maybe you can find a spot that is not completely frozen due to the water leak.
I think that for me this is one of those times not to be overly frugal. Me and plumbing do not play nice together and sometimes it is just a lot easier and less stressful to simply write a check to the people who do that for a living. As long as they're honest and don't expect me to pay for their kids to attend MIT I'm fine with it.
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Old 11-19-2014, 04:59 PM   #24
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I hear you, esp. during somewhat cool weather. As I get older, I tend to do fewer repair/maintenance projects as well.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:12 PM   #25
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This happened to me about 14 or 15 years ago in our previous house.

Water line broke just at the point it entered the basement. It was a type of plastic line called Blue Max, and the plumber said that it's infamous for this. As the ground moved due to seasonal temperature variation, the pipe flexed until it broke. I was lucky that it happened outside the basement instead of inside.

I replaced the entire line from the meter to the house with copper, which cost me over $5,000 and searched the web for information.

It turned out that there had been a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer, and there was a fund set up to handle these situations.

I filed a claim and got reimbursed for nearly the whole cost of the job.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:13 PM   #26
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It turned out that there had been a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer, and there was a fund set up to handle these situations.

I filed a claim and got reimbursed for nearly the whole cost of the job.
Wow, that would be a sweet outcome! I'll be sure to ask about that. Thanks.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:28 PM   #27
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Yes we had a house with that blue max crap. Had a leak under the driveway (water line went from meter, under the driveway, then up to the house).

I rented a concrete saw and sliced through the driveway, dug up the pipe, patched it, then poured new concrete. This was like 23 years ago. I had forgotten all about that until this thread. Never collected a dime but I think I only spent $40 for the saw rental and a few bucks for repair supplies.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:36 PM   #28
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My heart goes out to you Walt... in our case, in Florida when we weren't there.
Neighbor decided our lawn needed watering, turned on the main so the sprinklers would work... Didn't turn it off. The plastic fitting on the riser to the toilet broke... (flouride weakens some plastics... a known problem) the water ran for we don't know how long, til a neighbor heard it pouring out the corner of the house. A 14X73 mobile home... damage was about 7K...

Our home there had been replumbed ala the blue max thing, but it wasn't called that at the time (mid 1990's) Grey plastic pipe w/crimped fittings. It was done for free.

It's kinda like the automatic transmission in the car... can't fix it myself, and hate it when the shop guy says $4700 to fix my $2000 car. Hasn't happened but that's the feeling ya get when talking to a repairman... plumber, mechanic, A/C guy etc.

The saving grace sounds to be that the basement isn't flooding... My neighbor has a problem a little bit like yours... but in the cellar, water flows, and the sump pump works every 5 minutes. Water doesn't go thru their meter, so no expense, but neither they nor the plumbers they hired could find the source. Pretty sure it's the main line from the street, but not theirs. City doesn't seem too concerned. Go figger.

Am no help, but thought you should hear some commiseration. Been there, done that.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:42 PM   #29
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The saving grace sounds to be that the basement isn't flooding... My neighbor has a problem a little bit like yours... but in the cellar, water flows, and the sump pump works every 5 minutes. Water doesn't go thru their meter, so no expense, but neither they nor the plumbers they hired could find the source. Pretty sure it's the main line from the street, but not theirs. City doesn't seem too concerned. Go figger.

Am no help, but thought you should hear some commiseration. Been there, done that.
Were I that neighbor I'd have a couple of backup sump pumps on hand, generator to power it, battery backup, etc. That could get ugly fast.
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Old 11-19-2014, 05:53 PM   #30
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Take some pictures as you discover what is wrong and as it is getting fixed. We had a leak in the sprinkler system ($1000 water bill! Gasp!!) and provided documentation to the water company and they negotiated it down for us. I think we paid about $350. We were very appreciative!


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Old 11-19-2014, 07:41 PM   #31
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That is my concern. I don't happen to have an excavator in my shed of toys.
Just go down to the County Detention facility and barrow 4 or 5 trustees with shovels for the day. . On second thought , it might be frowned upon at your local. Still happens in some jurisdictions.

If you decide to use PEX , it must be PEX -AL -PEX for potable water underground. (Has an aluminum middle layer) The aluminum prevents chemical migration from the soil , such as pesticides and fertilizers. Ordinary PEX, even with oxygen barrier, can allow some chemicals to migrate in.
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Old 11-19-2014, 08:20 PM   #32
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Actually the talk with my neighbor did more to make me more relaxed about this than anything else. A loss of $1,500 is, in the great scheme of things financial, nothing more than an annoyance.

Funny how mentally one magnifies the effect of a loss in one's head. Intellectually I know about that, I've read about it many times, and I still can't escape it even when at the logical level I know I'm doing it.
Gotta stay alert and apprehensive. Consider that the $1500 potential fix is a pittance compared to the corner of your house caving in as the soil gives way below the foundation.

You are welcome.

(no worries really - we leaked literal swimming pools worth of water under a two story apartment building and it hasn't collapsed yet. 'course you don't see me staying there...)

And ditto seeing if the city won't back up your water bill - they negotiated me paying for the water, but subtracted the sewer charge, which was the larger amount. Water hadn't gone down the sewer, so...
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Old 11-19-2014, 09:34 PM   #33
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The city will usually cut you a deal and at least bill you the water at wholesale (and not charge you sewer charges).
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:00 PM   #34
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Just go down to the County Detention facility and barrow 4 or 5 trustees with shovels for the day. . On second thought , it might be frowned upon at your local. Still happens in some jurisdictions.
While this was said in jest, there is some good reasoning behind it. When possible, I have a handyman do the digging and filling in for plumbing. Even if I'm going to do it myself. Paying the plumber for shovel work is a real waste. If you know about where the leak is get some unskilled labor to do the digging. Could save you several hundred $$$.
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Old 11-20-2014, 06:54 AM   #35
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Take some pictures as you discover what is wrong and as it is getting fixed. We had a leak in the sprinkler system ($1000 water bill! Gasp!!) and provided documentation to the water company and they negotiated it down for us. I think we paid about $350. We were very appreciative!
YES!!!
Sorry, I forgot about this. When I filed the claim with the Blue Max settlement fund, they wanted photos showing what happened. Fortunately, I had taken them while the plumbers were digging up the yard.
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:17 AM   #36
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At least Walt is not in Florida where leaks like that turn into giant sink holes

Anyway, hope you get a speedy repair at a reasonable cost.
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:24 AM   #37
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my son had a major leak, like up to 10,000 gallons in a month and couldn't figure it out. we played with different scenarios. turned out that he turned off his water when he went to bed at night and one off the toillets tank and all were empty the next morning. replaced the toiled and fixed the problem. never did figure out how the water was draining, the flapper was good and no noticable water running. the only thing I can figure was an internal crack somewhere.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:09 AM   #38
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We had a leak this year. It became evident by the dramatic increase in water usage. After having it repaired at a cost of more the $1,500, the only small offset was that the water company was quick to adjust the water bill for the previously inflated months to our normal usage rate. That helped take a teeny bit of the sting out of the entire experience. Good luck in the repairs and be sure to ask for your rebate from water company.
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Old 11-20-2014, 09:37 AM   #39
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my son had a major leak, like up to 10,000 gallons in a month and couldn't figure it out. we played with different scenarios. turned out that he turned off his water when he went to bed at night and one off the toillets tank and all were empty the next morning. replaced the toiled and fixed the problem. never did figure out how the water was draining, the flapper was good and no noticable water running. the only thing I can figure was an internal crack somewhere.
Once, in way more dealings with toilets than one would wish, I had a mystery leak that ended up being a cracked brass overflow pipe.
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:04 PM   #40
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Thanks, all. I will remember to take pictures.

The water co. said they will remove the sewage portion from the bill since that didn't go down the sewer. That will help a little I guess.

Still waiting for the call-back from the plumber who did the next-door neighbor's last year. We went out for an hour and missed his first call back.

I'll try the tactic of turning off the water overnight and see if any of the toilets are empty in the morning. The tank and bowl are not integral on any of them so I don't see how a crack would leak into the bowl but what the hey, it's cheaper than digging up the front yard. And for the volume of water leaking I'm pretty sure I'd see movement in the bowl water but "pretty sure" is not certainty.
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