A broken water line can lead to a flooded yard, no water in the home, and expensive repair and water bills. Knowing the common causes of a leak can help you determine the type of repair needed or even provide knowledge on how to avoid the leak.

1. Corrosion 

Corrosion and rust are mainly a problem with older lines, particularly those made of corrosion-susceptible materials like galvanized steel. Over time corrosive elements in the soil cause the line to develop rust and pits. Eventually, the rust and corrosion eat through the line and small leaks appear. Thanks to the pressure of the moving water, these leaks become larger until the line bursts. Usually, replacement is the best option.

2. Frost Heave

Frost heave is a natural phenomenon that is caused by the expansion and contraction of soil in response to freezing temperatures affecting the moisture in the ground. Ideally, water lines should be buried deep enough so that they aren't exposed to frost heave, but occasionally a deep frost will disturb the soil around a line and cause it to separate. The damage may be repairable if minor, but major heave damage may require replacement. 

3. Pressure Irregularities

Pressure regulators on the line are supposed to maintain even water pressure within the parameters that the water line can handle. A failed regulator or surge of pressure from the main supply can cause a line to burst, though. Older lines, which weren't made to handle modern high water pressure, are more prone to damage. Replacing the burst section of the line is usually required.

4. Valve Failure

Sometimes the leak doesn't happen along the main water line but at one of the connector valves. It can be at the main valve that hooks into the water main, or it could be at the valve that hooks into your home. A main valve will likely require excavation to repair, but house valves are more likely to be above ground or in the basement, where repairs are less invasive.

5. Mechanical Damage

Mechanical damage is the most avoidable type of damage. Digging and excavating are the cause, whether you are digging to put in a new tree or to build a pool. You can avoid mechanical damage by having lines marked before you begin to dig. Otherwise, mechanical damage can be quite severe and lead to the need for an entire water line replacement. 

Contact a broken water line repair service if you suspect a leaking water line.