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How to Spot Common Underground Utility Problems

If you’re a homeowner, there’s a good chance you’ve had to deal with a utility problem at some point. Water lines can break, sewer lines can back up, and gas lines can leak. While these problems can be frustrating, most of them are also relatively easy to spot. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to spot some common underground utility problems so you can get them fixed before they cause too much more damage.

Water Line Leaks

One of the most common underground utility problems is a water line leak. Water line leaks can be caused by a number of things, including corrosion, poor installation, and damage from excavation. One of the most common telltale signs of a water line leak is a sudden pooling of water in your yard. This is especially common in sprinkler systems, for example. If your sprinkler lines were poorly installed and a lawn mower hits it in just the perfect way, a water line can break. Within a few hours, you may see a pool of water where the leak is. 


If you see water pooling and you know there isn’t a sprinkler system or garden hose running in that area, it’s likely that you have a home water line leak.  This is more common closer to the foundation of your home. Other signs of a water line leak include hissing or whistling noises coming from the ground, wet spots on your walls or ceiling, and mold growing in your home. If you have or think you may have a water line leak, it’s best to contact a professional. They’ll be able to make the repairs with minimal damage to your home and faster than you’d be able to do the work on your own.

Sewer Line Backups

Another common underground utility problem is a sewer line backup. Sewer line backups are usually caused by blockages in the line. Blockages can be caused by tree roots growing into the sewer line, grease buildup, or foreign objects like wipes or diapers being flushed down the toilet. Signs that you might have a sewer line backup include slow-draining sinks and toilets, sewage odors coming from your drains, and multiple drains backing up at once. Most people are able to solve minor backups with a chemical that can be dumped down the drain and will dissolve whatever is in its way. However, if that doesn’t work, it’s likely that the problem is bigger than anything you’d be able to handle on your own. If you think you might have a sewer backup, it’s important to call a plumber right away as sewage backups can be very dangerous.

Gas Line Leaks

Gas line leaks are another common underground utility problem. Gas lines can leak for many reasons, including corrosion, improper installation, and damage from excavation. One of the most obvious signs of a gas line leak is the smell of natural gas in your home or yard. If you smell natural gas, it’s important to evacuate the area immediately and call your gas company or the fire department. Other signs of a gas line leak include hissing noises coming from the ground and dead plants in your yard (natural gas is poisonous to plants). Not all gass is easy to smell. If you don’t smell gas but suspect that their may be a gas leak, then contact a local gas company. They’ll be able to come out to test for a leak and will provide you recommendations for moving forward. Most homes are equipped with CO2 detectors. These sensors are crucial for the safety of your home and family. Make sure that they have the proper batteries or wiring to function correctly. If you don’t have one, then it’s imiportant to go and get one.

Water Heater Leaks

Not all underground utilities are completely underground. For example, a water heater has water lines going in and out of the system, often running underground. It is possible that the system is leaking underground as well, depending on how it was insulated and installed. If you have any issues with your water heater, contact a professional to complete the work. A water heater repair should always be done by a professional to prevent injury and to prevent further damage. Plumbers and gas technicians are trained to deal with these sorts of problems and can usually fix them relatively quickly. Not only that, but they’ll also be able to spot potential problems before they become serious, saving you time, money, and in some cases, injury.

Hire a Professional

If you’re having any problems with your underground utilities, it’s always best to hire a professional. Professionals have the tools and experience to ensure safety in your home and for your family. Additionally, most underground utility problems require some sort of excavation to fix the problem. Most places have specific licenses and certification requirements to make these repairs legally.             

If you’re a homeowner, it’s important to know how to spot common underground utility problems so you can get them fixed before they cause too much damage. Water line leaks, sewer line backups, and gas line leaks are all relatively easy to spot if you know what to look for. So next time you’re out in your yard, keep an eye out for pooling water, sewage odors coming from your drains, dead plants, and hissing noises coming from the ground—these could all be signs of an underground utility problem.

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