Check your water bill. Extreme heat causing pipe cracks, leaks

Plumbers seeing surge in calls

SAN ANTONIO – The relentless heat is hitting home, even beneath the crunchy, brown grass. Pipes that supply water to houses are springing leaks, and plumbers are seeing a surge in calls.

“This summer, with as dry as it’s been, we have gotten an exceptional number of calls about having a leak in the yard,” said Chase Anderson, president of Shafer Services.

Thousands of gallons of water can escape unnoticed. That’s until the water bill arrives.

“We’ve seen folks that have had water bills four or five times their typical monthly amount,” Anderson said.

What’s happening?

“The ground’s moving,” he said. “Everything’s drying up.”

As the parched soil dries, it contracts, leaving pipes under heavy summer demand vulnerable to shifting and cracking, Anderson explained.

Older PVC pipes are especially at risk because they may be more brittle. Anderson said most leaks occur at junctures or near the water meter.

If you have a leak, it’s better to know about it sooner rather than later.

An unexplained soggy spot in the yard or a green tuft of grass in the middle of a brown patch can signal a leak. A bill that suddenly spikes is also a sign.

Installing a leak detector can help, although it can be expensive. Consumer Reports recommends the $500 Flo Moen Smart Water Shutoff System model 900-001re.


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About the Authors

Marilyn Moritz is an award-winning journalist dedicated to digging up information that can make people’s lives a little bit better. As KSAT’S 12 On Your Side Consumer reporter, she focuses on exposing scams and dangerous products and helping people save money.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.

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