8 Signs & Symptoms of a Main Water Line Leak

Low Water Pressure

Your water main is the link that connects the plumbing system in your home to the public water supply. Unfortunately, the pipes behind your walls and foundation have a limited lifespan. To help you avoid severe water damage, we have compiled a list of 8 symptoms of a main water line leak in your household.

It can be really tough to identify leaks, especially for systems that are designed to stay underground. Keep in mind these signs of a water leak:

1.) Puddles in the Street

This is one of the most common symptoms of a main water line leak. If a pipe were to burst underground, the water has nowhere to go but out into the street. If you notice bubbling water in the street in front of your home, you should reach out to a plumber as soon as possible. 

2.) Water & Sinkholes in Backyard

Keep an eye out for unexplained water puddles and sinkholes in your yard. These signs can mean that you have a leak in your main water line and can cause a serious risk of injury. 

Wet Walls

3.) Wet Floors & Walls

The easiest way to find a water leak is to inspect the floor, walls, and ceiling. Excess moisture is a sign of  a leak in your pipes. If you think your pipes may be leaking, it’s best to have an inspection done of your plumbing system to reveal any issues that may be undetectable at first glance. 

4.) Discolored Dry Walls

A moderate to severe main water pipe leak will cause your walls to become discolored. Perform a brief inspection of each room of your household to confirm if the walls are damp. Next, it’s important to check your ceiling to confirm if you notice wet rings or mold. If the symptoms of a water line leak are not addressed, this issue may lead to more serious problems such as damage to the structure and foundation of your home.

5.) Low Water Pressure

If you are experiencing low water pressure, it is possible that there is a severe main water line leak on your property. This symptom may mean that there are ruptures in the water lines or clogs in the pipes.

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Damage to Foundation

6.) Cracks & Chips in the Exterior Foundation

When water seeps into the foundation of your house, cracks can appear. A simple way for homeowners to detect the symptoms of a main water line leak is to inspect the structure of the household for cracks. Check the drywall and exterior paneling of your house to confirm if you notice obvious symptoms of a leak. Next, investigate the concrete foundation outside your home to see if there are cracks or chips. It’s best to have a professional plumber address these issues if you believe you may have a water line leak. 

7.) Water Sounds

If you hear bubbling, whistling, banging, dripping, and clanking noises you may want to have your water pipes checked. These noises are typically caused by a broken pipe within your home’s plumbing system. 

8.) Water Smells Unpleasant

Clogs in your water line can lead to dirty water and sewage being routed to the wrong places. It is not uncommon for homeowners to find a water leak due to unpleasant drinking water odors. It’s best to check your pipes and ensure they are clog-free to avoid contaminated water.


Ordinary Types of Plumbing Pipes

An average household is filled with a variety of different types of pipes that are designed to provide clean drinking water and flush contaminated sewage. The type of pipes will be dependent on their purpose and the age of your house.

  • Cast Iron - Used for Plumbing Waste Lines
  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - Used for Sewage Waste Lines
  • Chromed Brass - Used for Plumbing Waste Lines
  • Chromed Copper - Used for Water Supply Lines
  • Galvanized Iron - Used for Water Supply Pipes
  • Copper - Used for Water Lines
  • Chlorinated Poly-Vinyl Chloride (CPVC) - Used for Water Supply Lines
  • Cross-Linked Polyethylene (PEX) - Used for Water Supply Lines
  • Black Iron - Used for Gas Pipes

Life Cycle of Different Types of Pipes

The most commonly used pipes include copper, brass, cast iron, PEX, PVC, galvanized, and lead pipes. These pipes are all used for different purposes and have different lifespans. Continue reading to learn more about how long these pipes should last. 

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Copper Pipes

These dull penny colored pipes were popular in buildings that were constructed after 1950. Their lifespan is generally 50 years, however, they can last longer. If you notice dark spots on your walls, this is a symptom of a cracked copper water line. Since this type of piping is hard to replace, you will be required to call a licensed plumber to remove and replace the pipe. Copper pipes are known for having a slight green tint due to oxidation. 

Brass Pipes

Brass pipes are not commonly used by licensed plumbers. This type of piping is usually soldered together. They last somewhere between 50 and 70 years and have a yellow, shiny appearance. 

8 Signs & Symptoms of a Main Water Line Leak

Cast Iron Pipes

Cast iron pipes are gray and are commonly found in older buildings. Iron pipes are engineered to drain waste and sewage from houses. Their lifespan is anywhere between 75 and 100 years if they are being used for drain pipes. 

PEX Pipes

PEX pipes became popular in the plumbing industry in the 1980s and are easy to recognize. PEX pipes are popular with licensed technicians because they come in a variety of colors. Red pipes are utilized to circulate hot water while blue lines are used to distribute cold water.. The average lifespan of PEX pipes is around 40 years, however, they can last longer. 

PVC Pipes

PVC pipes were introduced in the 1970s. However, this type of piping did not become mainstream in the construction industry until 1990. These pipes are often used in newer homes and renovated homes. The lifespan of PVC pipes when used as supply lines are around 75 years and if used for drain lines the expectancy is indefinite. 

Galvanized Pipes

These pipes are seen in homes that were constructed before 1950 and are designed to last anywhere from 20-50 years. They are considered a concern to many insurance companies and may impact their coverage. 

Lead Pipes

These pipes were used in homes that were constructed in the 1800s. They were banned in new constructions starting in 1920 because they are no longer considered safe to use. 


Plumbing Repair & Maintenance Services

If you are concerned that you may have a water leak in the main line, you should contact a licensed plumber immediately for the main water line leak repair. The experts at Stephen’s Plumbing offer water line repair, installation, and replacement services to households in Downers Grove and other areas of Illinois. Our team of certified technicians also provides plumbing and HVAC repair services for malfunctioning water heaters, inefficient air conditioners, broken sump pumps, gas leaks, and noisy furnaces. Call our staff today at (630) 968-0783 to receive help with a plumbing, heating, or air conditioning problem.