HELP! Underwater and over my head. Supply main leak
I nearly cried when I opened the 789.87 dollar water bill! A huge water leak and we didn't notice. Called a friend, who remembered stepping in a muddy place at the far end of the patio a couple weeks earlier and he assumed someone had left a water hose on too long. So, in the past two days, we have received estimates from plumbers and handymen from 2500 to 8,000 to find the leak that appears to be under the fairly new concrete patio ( 20x 65 feet). Some say the patio has to be dug up and replaced. Some will try with a water thing that digs holes and one guy said..um just move where the main comes into the house and avoid the house concrete expense.
You guys helped me a couple of years ago do a bathroom remodel. And it turned out great. This time, it is an emergency and I don't have that much money to fix the darn leak. I have 3 days off and a shovel. I will spend a good part of the evening trying to research what will be involved in each of the options that my mother fielded.
The basics: I live on 1.52 acres in the High Desert which is earthquake country. The meter is about 200-300 feet from my house. The house was built in the mid 1950's so I know I will need to replace a good deal of pipe. Most of plumbers said it was best to replace the pipe all the way to the meter to avoid having to dig it up again. I am in shock at the prices. I would LOVE to pay someone to do this job, but I honestly don't have that much money.
There is even opinions on plastic and copper. I know copper is more expensive, but I do know that I have had so many leaks with PVC pipes ( sprinklers). I am not sure about the chemicals leaching in from plastic. I won't know until tomorrow what type of pipe is there now. All this happened while I was at work and I don't get home until after dark so I haven't seen the damage.
I am pretty handy and made it through the bathroom remodel with your help before. For right now, we drive out to the meter and turn the water on for an hour to shower and wash dishes in the morning and leave it off the rest of the time. Not going to be able to keep this up for long.
Where do I start? Move the whole main supply over to avoid the patio drama? Copper Tubing? Plastic? If the leak is really under the patio, why do I have to turn the water off at the meter instead of at the pressure box right before the patio?
I promise to spend time learning the vocabulary tonight. I can take pictures if it helps.
Thanks so much