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Thread: Plumbing Mystery - Help!

  1. #1

    Default Plumbing Mystery - Help!

    My domestic hot water splits at the furnace. One path goes 40 feet one way to my downstairs through a very cold breezeway along the outside wall of the house. The other path goes the other direction to the upstairs, warm and insulated the whole way.

    Well, on a recent cold night, the downstairs predictably froze up. 36 hours later, when the temperatures rose again, I suddenly lost all *hot* water to the upstairs as well! Of course I suspected a burst pipe, but had a plumber come out and he was unable to find any burst anyway, even though more than 100 gallons of water went *somewhere*.

    There are two strange things to me:
    1) This much water should be obvious
    2) The meter is counting up about a gallon a minute. This doesn't seem that fast. How could I lose all pressure on the other side of my house if I have a 1 gal/minute leak somewhere? In the past, I could have all my faucets on at the same time and have no pressure problems at all. I would think just running one faucet would output more water than 1 gallon / minute.

    Is there something else it could be? What should I be looking at??

    Please help!
    Last edited by joeNotPlumber; 01-19-2009 at 04:53 AM.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member gardner's Avatar
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    Default

    If your meter is running, you have a leak. A burst pipe or burst joint from freezing is not necessarily going to run full bore. It could result in a small fine spray of water, and a slowish leak like that wouldn't noticably affect your pressure or flow in the fixtures.

    You better follow your pipes around carefully and find where it's leaking as the repair costs will be climbing by the minute.

    If the pipe is still frozen, it could be leaking AND blocking flow to downstream fixtures.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
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    You need a better plumber that can find leaks!

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joeNotPlumber View Post

    2) The meter is counting up about a gallon a minute. This doesn't seem that fast. How could I lose all pressure on the other side of my house if I have a 1 gal/minute leak somewhere? In the past, I could have all my faucets on at the same time and have no pressure problems at all. I would think just running one faucet would output more water than 1 gallon / minute.

    Is there something else it could be? What should I be looking at??

    Please help!

    1 gallon per minute is 60 gallons per hour / 1,440 gallons per day. That is a major leak. Where is you water meter located? Inside or outside the house?

    Start turning off water valves that feed different pipe runs. You may be able to isolate the leak that way, but that is a lot of water to be leaking inside a house with no obvious evidence of a leak!

  5. #5
    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
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    Ontario, Canada
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    906

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    Check the most obvious first. Check for any running toilets. Check for any burst outside taps (that is quite common in between the walls)

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