Underground leaks can easily go unnoticed.

If not repaired these leaks can quickly become costly problems that lead to serious flood issues.

When an underground pipe bursts it triggers a leak. Where no visible damage transpires it may take some time before any effects of the leak are found. This ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problem is not only difficult to detect but can end up costing thousands in structural damages if unrepaired and increase your business water bills. It is therefore important to know how to find and report an underground leak in your business

What causes an underground leak?

An underground leak can occur in your business for a multitude of reasons. Some of the more common causes can be due to:

  • Drastic temperature changes in the winter months. A drop in temperature to below 0° can cause pipes to freeze and thaw before expanding and burst.
  • Pressure on the water system. Where pressure builds up inside the pipe (possibly from a clog) the backlog can put strain on the pipe until it bursts.
  • Ground and soil movement can be another attributing factor to an underground leak.
  • Wear and tear. Pipes also get old and corrode over time which leads to pipes cracking and bursting.

How to detect an underground leak?

Higher than usual bills
If your business premises is metered, a strong indication, and often the first way of knowing if you have a leak, is that your water bill is suddenly more expensive than usual. If you do have a significantly higher bill than expected, and you cannot account for the excess water consumption, you may have a leak somewhere.

Take regular water meter readings
Taking regular water meter readings will allow you to track your business water consumption, making it easier and faster to spot unusual consumption patterns that could be indicative of a leak. Submitting these meter readings on MyAccount will help to keep your bills up-to-date and as low as possible.

Test for a leak

  • The first step would be to double check the visible pipes have not cracked and are dripping.
  • Then shut off the water supply using the internal stopcock and check the water meter reading. Keep a note of these numbers (or take a photo on your phone).
  • After 30 minutes, if the reading has increased it means water has seeped from the pipes between the stopcock and water meter.
  • At this point call a local plumber to further investigate. Otherwise, if there is no numerical change, turn the water back on - there is no leak between your stopcock and meter.

An underground leak could potentially still occur between your outside stop valve and either the:

  1. supply pipe - If this is the case any other business in the street that utilises this supply pipe should take joint responsibility for any leak repairs.
  2. communication pipe or water mains pipe - In this scenario your Water Network Owner would be responsible for the leak repair.

Find out more information on understanding who is responsible for leak repairs here.

What to do if you have an underground leak?

If you find a leak of any type it must be reported and fixed immediately.

Leaks that are not repaired (even those that start as a small drip) can rapidly escalate and potentially lead to flood issues. Not only are you paying for the water you have lost, but the build-up of that excess water will cause serious structural damage. This can end up costing your business thousands of pounds to repair.

If you are unsure who is responsible to fix a burst pipe or your need to report an emergency leak, contact Castle Water.

As your water supplier, we are available 24/7 to report leaks on your behalf, provide advice, and where required recommend you to your Water Network Operators.

Prevention and early leak detection

Prevention and early detection is key to managing leaks. By taking the time to set up preventative measures early on, you can save yourself expensive repairs and potential floods to your business.

Signs to look out for that may occur due to underground leaks are:

  • deep pools of water/pothole forming on the ground surface
  • drop in water pressure
  • increased water bill
  • higher water usage than usual

Remember tracking water usage is key!

Castle Water provide a range of specialist business water services that can help track your water usage and detect leaks:

  • submit online meter readings. It sounds simple but it is the easiest way of tracking your water usage and making sure you are not over changed for your business water. You can submit your meter reading online here.
  • Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) installation. This will track your water consumption and calculate how much water you are using. When the meter displays a spike in the numbers, you may have an underground leak.
  • leak detection and repair services.

Castle Water have now made submitting meter readings even easier! Simply login to MyAccount and submit your meter readings anytime and anywhere.

For more information on detecting leaks, take a look at our leak assistance guide.