possible leak in water supply pipe

7 Jul 2008
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United Kingdom
i have just had my water meter read for the first time since having it installed. The reading was much higher than expected,that of 5 people rather than 2. I was told that i must have a leak within my property. After closing the mains stop cock within my house i noticed the spinner on my meter was still turning. does this mean i have a leak within the pipe from the meter outlet to my stop cock? if so, is this difficult/expensive to repair/replace? bearing in mind the majority of the pipe is under the house itself. how would this repair work be carried out and would my buildings insurance cover its cost? thanks.
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Yes it does sound like you have a leak on your supply pipe. It's not hugely difficult to repair in theory, provided your supply pipe is plastic and the leak is accessible (IE in your garden and not under your house). In this instance, all that needs to be done is to dig down to the pipe, which will be buried at between 750mm and 1350mm below ground level. It might be that a trench needs digging, or at least more than one hole. The leaky section would then be cut out and the pipe rejoined.

If the leak is under your house the easiest thing to do is to replace the entire supply pipe, which will mean digging a trench along your garden and boring a hole through to a convenient point, where a new stopcock may be installed. This would not necessarily be in the same place as your old one, and that will depend entirely on your individual circumstances. If the pipe is a lead pipe it should be replaced along it's entire length regardless of where the leak is.

It might be worth checking that the guys who installed the meter haven't messed up and left a leak on one of their joints. If this is the case, you should be able to claim back the cost of the lost water.

As for whether your buildings insurance will cover the cost, that is a question only you/they can answer. Some do, some do not.
Hi If you put up strong case SWWater will probably give you a freebie on the first wastage due to a leak. If the meter is a new feature of the cold water system it is quite likely they had something to do with the problem when fitting meter. Especially if you have a galvanised service or lead etc.( Please note it is some times cheaper to ignore the leaky pipe and just renew from meter position to house, using a pneumatic mole the disturbance can be greatly reduced. Good Luck
hi,thanks for your replies. i have tested the supply pipe using the instructions on the three valleys web site and it seems our leak is quite bad,a litre a minute.i was told about a contraption that makes a hole for a new pipe,is this the pneumatic mole?as my meter is in my front drive and its all concrete before the pipe goes into the house i guess this would be the most painless way of replacing the entire lead pipe. is this an expensive job to have done? do i have to lift up any of the wood flooring as i already have an access panel cut into the wood flooring above the stopcock measuring 12ins by 12ins?
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Hi. his is the link for a company that i have used, who have the kit and knowledge to carry out such work in the South West. You may also consider an insurance claim?
http://pipeworx.co.uk/ Good Luck
You can prove a leak thus:
Turn off all outlets in the house
Turn off the supply at the meter
Support a glass tumbler of water up to the kitchen cold tap, covering the spout. Open the tap.
You may get a pipeful of water coming down which overflows the tumbler, but wait.... If the level of water in the tumbler goes down, water is leaking from your supply pipe and sucking water out of your tumbler. If you turn off your internal stopcock and the dropping in level stops, the leak is before the stopcock.

Some companies will use "Moles" to get a pipe through, most will refuse, as the damage they can do is considerable if they hit something nobody knew about. Often the route in from the road is altered to make life easier.
The pipes is supposed to be 750mm deep, but in my exprience the Water Companies' contractors will bring it higher where it's quickly covered up, or where convenient to enter the property, etc. :rolleyes:

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