Plumbing in the Home/Backyard Leak


I live in a single story home in southern Nevada.  House was built in 1996.  Recently my backyard has been wet.  No standing water but the soil (under rock landscaping) has been wet.  Although I have a drip irrigation system it has not been on since summer.  My Water bill has remained the same $22 last month.  I have a small inground pool in the yard but have not noticed level going down.  I've only had to fill it once, and only a little, in the past 4 months.  Also my neighbor has noticed wet soil in his yard and he does not have a sprinkler system in his yard.  Even if this is a pool leak his yard is over 30 feet away from pool.  I have also noticed that wall near my bath/shower seems to have some water damage.  I was going to recaulk bath surround but I want to make sure there is no connection.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Hi Lisa,
It sounds like that is a leak somewhere. It is unlikely that it's a problem with caulking though. There would not be enough water generated from that type of leak to wet yours and your neighbor's yard as you describe. I suspect a water pipe leak.

One way to track this down might be to use the services of an infrared leak finding service or a leak detection service. Both accomplish the same end result by using different methods. The infrared system is based on temperature variations in the area of the leak. More conventional leak detection services typically use ultrasound. Each system has its pluses and minuses depending on the conditions and structure type. If there is water piping under a slab, typically the ultrasound method is more effective. If the leak is in the walls above the floor, the infrared detection works well. (I have experience in this area since I am an infrared thermographer myself)

While both services will cost some money to use, the long-term effects of not handling this problem can be significant. Damage to the structure caused by wood rot and mold, foundation settlement or cracking of a slab foundation can also occur. It would be best to address this problem and handle it sooner than later.

Using your water bill as a guide can be problematical. Many municipalities are pretty lax as far as accuracy goes and in many cases just estimate based on past usage. It is much cheaper to run a few computer calculations than the pay for personnel to walk around and read all the meters.
Good Luck,

Plumbing in the Home

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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