Have you recently purchased your first home? Do you know what to do if you should suddenly get a water bill for hundreds of times your usual amount? Unless you are filling a completely empty pool, your water bill is likely to remain fairly consistent from month to month. But there may come a day when you open up your bill to find that the charge is for a ridiculous amount. Although this could be an accounting error, a more likely cause is going to be a leak somewhere in the water main that leads up to your house. Should this happen to you, here are some things you can do about it:
Investigate insurance: A typical homeowner's insurance policy isn't going to cover things like water main repair or replacing items that were damaged as a result of a leaky pipe flooding your basement. However, you may be able to find add-ons that cover water damage or even the cost of the repair itself. Since the cost of repair has the potential to break your carefully crafted budget, it's a good idea to be as prepared as possible for this eventuality. While it varies slightly between different municipalities, it's quite possible that you will be solely responsible for repairing the issue and that the water company is only responsible for the line to the point where it enters your property.
Call to have leak verified: A break in your water main is not something that should happen very often. Water pipes are obviously designed to carry water without corroding, so they shouldn't become damaged very often. If you receive a bill that is ridiculously high, call your water company to ask them to manually verify the numbers. It is possible that the gauge itself is broken, rather than you actually needing a water main repair, so this is something that should be investigated before you have to dig up your yard.
Look for damp areas: Leaky pipes will start small, perhaps only a few gallons over a matter of days. By the time that you get a large water bill, however, the pipe may be gushing hundreds of gallons per day. Not all soil is going to be able to handle that much water. Some of it may come to the surface, creating marshy areas. If you don't know what's going on, these may initially be mistaken for unevaporated rainwater or even a faulty septic tank. Depending on your soil type, the water may travel for dozens of feet away from the actual break, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact location where the water main repair is needed.
Contact a water main repair service for more information and assistance.