A water line leak can lead to expensive water waste as well as damage to your landscape or home. There are a few reasons why water lines break, but some can be avoided if you know what to do.

1. Freeze Cycling

Freeze and thaw cycles can be extremely hard on a water line if it is not buried deep enough in the soil. When the ground freezes, the soil expands. It then contracts when the soil thaws. This movement against the water line can cause it to thrust upward, which warps the line and increases the chances of a leak forming at a pipe joint. Burying below the frost line minimizes the number of freeze and thaw cycles that the line is exposed to.

2. Aging Damage

Eventually, a water line will age to the point that leaks can occur. How long the line will last depends on the material, with some materials only lasting a couple of decades and others continuing to serve for a half-century or more. A water line service can check the material and give you an estimated lifespan based on corrosion and material breakdown rate.

3. High Pressure

If the municipal water supply comes into the line at too high of pressure, then the force of the water through the line can cause leaks to form at any pipe joints. Pressure regulators can be installed on your mainline to monitor municipal water pressure and reduce it before it enters the line. Once damage has occurred, the only option will be to repair the broken joint or replace the entire line. 

4. Digging Impacts

Any digging or excavating in the yard runs the risk of damaging your water mainline. It doesn't have to be a big project either, depending on the location of the line. Putting in a garden bed or planting a new tree could lead to a line impact. It's important to call the water and utility companies before you dig so they can mark the location of your lines. You can also estimate the line location by tracing the water main connection in your home out to the water main access cover in the street.

5. Ground Movement

Some soils are constantly shifting, which can lead to stress on water line joints and eventual leaks. Ground movement from earthquakes or even the tremors from nearby heavy construction work can also lead to shifts in the pipe and a leak. An inspection and repair is necessary when this happens. 

Contact a broken water line repair service if you suspect that there is damage to your water mainline.