Solve Yard Line Leaks & Meter Leaks in Frisco, TX & Beyond
When things are going right, you should never have to think twice about the water flowing into your home from the municipal supply. Unfortunately, once the water leaves the service line and enters your property, it’s no longer the utility company’s problem. That means any water meter leaks or supply line leaks you encounter are your responsibility.
No one expects to have to spend the money they were saving up on a sudden plumbing problem. We understand that, and that’s why at Earl’s Plumbing, our goal is to provide you with the best option available at the best price. In fact, unlike many sales commission-type plumbing companies, we will always try to make a repair rather than a replacement when it makes long-term economical sense. If you suspect you have a meter leak, give us a call today!
Signs You May Need Main Water Line Leak Repair
Main line water leaks can be notoriously difficult to detect. However, there are several signs that you might need to repair your water line. If you notice any of these signs, contact a professional plumber at Earl’s to diagnose and repair the issue in the way that makes the most sense for your long-term budget, safety, and peace of mind.
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Have Water Leaks Between the Meter and House? Ask Earl’s Anything!
We know that a main line leak isn’t something most homeowners have previous experience with. We’ve answered the top questions we get about yard lines below. If you don’t see yours, give us a call today!
The main water line is the pipe that supplies potable water to your home or business from the city or utility provider’s main service line. In residential applications, this is sometimes referred to as the “yard line.”
Technically speaking, the main water line encompasses the water meter, the pipe carrying water to the structure, and all mechanical valves, joints, and connections in between. Those would be the main shut-off valve and pressure-reducing valve (PRV) if applicable.
The utility provider’s responsibility stops at the meter. Therefore, the property owner is responsible for everything past the meter. That includes any possible leaks inside the meter box at the meter connection, which is a fairly common and relatively inexpensive repair in comparison.
By code, the main water line must be at least 3/4 inches in diameter or larger. This is very dependent upon the size or square footage of the home or business and how many fixtures are to be supplied. Most residential water lines are 1 inch, but occasionally we will see 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 inch lines in larger homes. That is why the plumber will almost always ask you the size (square footage) of your home.
Water leak repairs are never welcomed. However, as a homeowner, if a significant mystery leak is in your future, the preferred one would be on the outside of your home. The obvious reason is that your risk of property damage decreases significantly if the leak appears in the yard versus under a cabinet or under the slab.
Although many interior leaks and the subsequent property damages they cause are covered by insurance—if you have the proper insurance endorsements—not everything in the “scope of work” is covered. The out-of-pocket deductible can also be significant. So, don’t panic—simply call Earl’s to get professional leak repairs as quickly and effectively as possible.
The most common types of water distribution pipe for main lines in the Frisco, McKinney, and Plano areas are copper pipe or PEX tubing. Most homes and businesses built between 1985 to 2015 will have a main line made of copper pipe.
Although PEX tubing arrived in the US in the mid-80s, its use did not become common until around 2015. From about 2015 to 2018 there was a good mix of both copper pipe and PEX tubing, sometimes with both types being used in the same structure. In addition, it is pretty common to have a main water line in an alternative product (discussed in more detail below) but have copper pipe throughout the house.
PEX tubing has slowly but surely started to dominate the water pipe distribution market and in houses built from 2020 on, it would be very rare to find anything other than PEX tubing on a residential job.
Why does it matter what your water line is made of? Because it affects the overall longevity of the water line, and it could also affect the cost of the repair due to various difficulties and material scarcities.
Copper piping is the most common in our area due to the sheer number of homes built between 1995 and 2015. Obviously, copper pipe is very durable, but the type of copper used in main yard lines and under the home is called “Type M.”
Type M copper has slightly thinner walls, allowing it to be purchased in large, continuous rolls. The benefit is that there are no sweat joints from the meter shut-off to the main water shut-off valve, and no sweat joints under the slab. Any type of joint where a fitting is used to join pipe together is typically considered the weakest point in the pipe. Not only is it a weak point, but it could also leave room for error and/or improper installation.
But because the Type M copper walls are thinner, sharp aggregate in the soil or concrete can cause wear points and create a leak. That said, most yard line leaks on a copper pipe are not in the pipe itself but at one of the joints or connections (irrigation tee or shut-off valve/PRV).
One advantage copper has over any of the other pipes is that in the event of a leak, it can be traced, located, and marked. The tester has the ability to get directly over the line with their acoustic listening equipment. Therefore, there is a much better chance of locating the leak and completing a spot repair versus a full main yard line replacement.
There is nothing wrong with copper pipe, and we use both copper and PEX depending on the application and requirements. However, there are many minor advantages with PEX pipe versus any other product on the market. The most important advantage came full circle in February 2021’s freeze event. PEX might freeze but it will not burst or rupture—at least we haven’t seen it happen yet.
At Earl’s Plumbing, as it pertains to main yard water line replacements and new installations, we feel that PEX is the overall superior product for this application should this scope of work be required.
PEX pipe is becoming the primary water supply pipe in most homes and many businesses, not just in north Texas but nationwide. Its advantages far outweigh its disadvantages when it comes to the other code-compliant products.
It, too, comes in long rolls, allowing one continuous line from the meter to the main water shut-off. That means no fittings or weak points. The PEX product is incredibly durable and resilient yet flexible.
The biggest issue from a plumber’s standpoint is that in the unlikely event there is a leak, we cannot easily trace and mark the line. That’s because PEX is a plastic material. Checking for leaks in this way creates considerable difficulty and requires being very creative.
When properly installed using the right tools, equipment, fittings, and crimp rings, PEX pipe has more advantages and fewer limitations. More specifically, we use high-quality barbed brass fittings, shut-offs, and Apollo “Copper Pro” crimp rings. You will never find an inferior Sharkbite “push to connect” fitting OR “clamp ring” on any of our trucks.
Less common forms of pipe that we see used here in the Frisco/McKinney/Plano area are:
If we know where the leak is—meaning, there are obvious signs—then we are always going to expose the area and determine the cause. From there, we will make a recommendation for you to choose from. Some considerations that need to be taken into consideration when making this decision are:
We won’t lie: replacing your main water line is one of the more invasive plumbing jobs that we perform. There is a considerable amount of digging, and when there is an active leak, sometimes that digging is muddy. Because of the size and scope of what needs to happen to install a new main water line properly, it’s usually pretty obvious that something significant happened. And almost without fail, the whole scene is right in the middle of the front yard.
Because the trench must be a certain depth, there are always mounds of dirt, and the job usually takes multiple days from start to finish. That said, we always take extra precautions by laying plastic and tarps down on the yard and concrete for some protection. This allows the sod to recover faster, but inevitably it does take a little time to become seamless. The same applies to concrete patches on driveways and sidewalks—there is always at least a slightly noticeable appearance difference.
See What Frisco is Saying About Our Water Leak & Drain Services
“I’m typically very hesitant to call any plumbing company to inquire about services, but when I reached out to Earl’s Plumbing, the experience was extremely positive from the start. I spoke to Brant (I believe he is a manager) who was very knowledgeable, honest and was willing to have someone come out within just a couple of hours of me calling to look into the issue at my home. A few minutes before the plumber arrived, I received a text with information on the name of the plumber (with his picture) and a little info on his experience. That was a very cool touch. TJ was the plumber assigned for the job, and he was AWESOME! He was very outgoing, personable and knowledgeable. He was able to get the job done quickly and efficiently while also explaining (thoroughly) his findings. It was a great experience all around. I would definitely recommend Earl’s Plumbing to anyone and will give them a call if I ever need plumbing services in the future”
“Earl’s Plumbing did a thorough repair of a tankless water heater we had installed earlier in the year. We did not know this, but if you’re going to go tankless, you need a highly qualified technician to make things right and to be fully covered by warranty. Look no further than Earl’s Plumbing.”
“Had 2 lovely gentlemen from Earl’s Plumbing come install a pre-purchased water softener/filter. They showed up on time, worked fast, and were very reasonably priced. Would highly recommend this company for plumbing work.”