How to Find a Water Leak in Your Yard

Have you realized water pooling in your yard on a dry day and your water bill is skyrocketing? Well, these are signs of a pipe leak underground.

Without a doubt, a water leak in your home is often easy to spot. You can easily see water pooling on the floor, basement, wetting your walls, or dripping from your ceiling. However, finding a water leak in your yard is something different.

Finding underground pipe leaks is quite hard because the pipes are buried deep into the ground, underneath the slabbed driveway, or under your lawn. So, do you hire an excavator to dig up your yard, to find the leak? What can you do?

The question of ‘how to find a water leak in your yard’ is what we seek to answer in this post. So, without much ado, let’s get started.

Signs There Could Be a Water Leak Underground in your Yard

If you see unexplained puddles of water in your yard, it might be an indication that something is wrong somewhere. Here are other signs that there is a possible leak in your yard:

Low Water Pressure

When you have leaked from your underground pipe or any other in your home, then know there is a leak somewhere. It could mean that the pipes are clogged, ruptured, or eroded. You can check your low water pressure by turning on your shower or flushing the toilet. If your shower water stops running, then know you have low water pressure.

Low water pressure can be experienced in your neighborhood, especially where new construction is taking place. So, make sure to notify the superintendent in charge of the construction contractor so that they can inspect the drains outside.

High Water Bill

Unless your lifestyle has changed, your water bill should at least stay the same every month. So, examine your water bill for the last few months and if you notice an exponential increase, then it is best to call a home inspector to inspect your plumbing system.

Sinkholes or Potholes in your Yard

If you see sinkholes or potholes in your yard, then something isn’t right. These are the holes not to play with. They are an indication that there may be a leaking water pipe underground.

Unpleasant Smell

If dirty water from your house isn’t drained well into the municipal sewer line, and you’re experiencing a foul smell from your yard, then it could be your drain is blocked or cracked and is leaking. Make it a priority to call in a house inspection.

Cracked Foundation or Wet Spots

If you see cracked foundation or wet spots around your house foundation, there might be a broken or cracked pipe that is leaking and seeping water through your home foundation. If not found and handled early, it can possibly weaken your house’s foundation and ruin the structural integrity.

Cracked Pavement or Bulges in the Driveway

These are indicators of a cracked and leaking pipe under your pavement or driveway

Air or Dirt in your Water

If you find that air or dirt is in your water flowing out of the faucet, which is not normal, it only indicates that you got a problem with your pipes.

How to Check if the Leak is in the Service Line

Water enters your home plumbing system from the municipal’s water main, through the water meter, and then underground into your house through the main service line to your home shutoff valve.

To find whether the water is leaking from your service lines and comes out into your yard, turn off the water to every section of your home at the main valve.

Turn off water to your house at the shut-off valve

Find the place where your service line emerges out of the ground and enters your home. This is often in the corner or front of your house. But homes in some places such as Atlanta, the shut-off valve is located in the basement area. Get the shut-off valve and turn it off.

Locate Your Water Meter

Find a metal lid on a concrete box just near the curb. With a screwdriver, lift the lid open.

Read the Meter for a Leak

Check and see whether the water is still running through your meter. If it is, then you have a leak in your service line. But, if no water is passing through, then the leak is somewhere else.

How to Read the Meter

Analog Water Meter

Look at the main dial hand and the low-flow indicator that is often a star or a triangle that spins. If either of these features is moving, then you have water running through your meter thus indicating a leak in your services line.

Digital Water Meter

Here, you want to observe the flow rate. Digital meters are all different, therefore, check with your municipal on how to read the one they have provided you. However, if the flow rate is zero, it means no water is flowing and thus no leaking in your service line.

If you have an isolated water leak in your service line, you may be pondering where specifically in the service line the leak is happening. Here are the most common sections of the service line where the leak is most likely to happen.

Near the Shut-off Valve

The copper pipe from the shutoff valve goes into the ground to connect with the PVC service pipe. The point where they connect can crack and leak.

At the Fittings or Joints

Wherever there are fittings or joints in your service line, then these sections are more likely to have a leakage. So, if your service line turns and goes underneath your driveway, then that is a perfect place to check for water leaks.

How to Check if the Leak is in Your Irrigation System

If you have followed the above steps and you found the leak isn’t in the service line, then the most probable culprit is your irrigation system. Here is how to find a water leak in your irrigation system:

Turn on your house shut-off valve

Turn on your house shut-off valve to let water flow into your irrigation system.

Turn off all your water-using appliances and faucet in your home

To effectively carry out this test, consider turning all the faucets and water-using appliances in your home. That way, only your irrigation system is using water in your home.

Check the Water Meter

Use the water meter reading steps we mentioned above to read the water meter. Your meter should be recording water use. So, if you want to find out if the leak is in your irrigation system, turn off the water to your irrigation system. Ideally, the valve should be after the backflow preventer for most home plumbing systems designs.

If the water meter doesn’t record any water use, then it means you have secluded the water leak to your irrigation system.

Commons Sections for Irrigation System Leaks

Irrigation lines leakages can cause wetness in a large area of your yard and often happens in 2 common places along the line these are:

  • Inside irrigation valve box: Irrigation system water leakage can happen if there is a malfunctioning gate valve inside the irrigation valve box.
  • Between backflow preventer and irrigation valve box: This section of the irrigation system is also prone to water leakages.


If you find that you have an underground leak in your yard, you should immediately shut off the water. A water leak in your yard is not a good thing and shutting off the water supply will help you save money. Call a professional plumbing company to help find the exact location of the underground water leak and repair it by either repairing or replacing the broken pipe.

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