I find myself in a spot of bother and thought I'd run it up the flagpole by the braintrust here and see if anyone has any bright ideas.
Problem: I need to find what appears to be a small, high pressure leak in a water line that runs across a field for 1500 - 1800' (somewhere around there), 4' deep at least, between the well house and my (and the parents') houses. Leak is small and there are no visible wet spots, which makes it a pain to locate.
It would take me paragraphs to 'splain why things are set up the way they are, but the pump is on its own separate electric service and thus it's power usage can be known exactly easily. Well, this weekend night my mother informs me that the usage has been steadily increasing over the last few months. Normally it averages a mere 1 kW-hr/day, but over the last has been steadily increasing. I watched it over Sunday, and it was up to 4 kW-hr/day.
The reason she hadn't informed me earlier was because she didn't want me to worry with any "hard work" until my hip was healed. My father is just getting too old to do much any more.
So today I get on it (task number 4,359 in all the little things that needed attention around this joint that I hadn't felt like -- or cared! -- messing with). Because of the head drop (it runs uphill) I run the pump on a 60 - 35 psi cycle (to all you folks on city water that would seem like a trickle and you couldn't stand it )
Well, after shutting off both houses, it was still leaking down. It would hit 60psi, then quickly bleed off down to around 40 -45 psi, then slowly leak on down to cut-on. It was cycling every 5 minutes (5 minutes, 4 secs to be exact). SO there's a leak somewhere, and one that leaks pretty fast above 45psi, but slows down below that. That explains why there's no detectable wet spots. I think.
I check the pressure charge in the tank, and sure enough it was low, and I get back up. That helped a lot -- I should've checked that long before (one needs to do that about once per year). Anyway that increased the capacity in the cycle range. It still drops from 60psi down to 45 fairly quickly, but takes much longer to leak on down to cut-on due to the proper capacity.
I'm watching it now, but it looks like that alone increased the cycle time by a factor of 4 or so.
So I've got a small, high pressure leak to find along 1500' of water line buried at least 4' deep. I suspect over the 30 years it's been there, a rock has worked its way up against it and has worn a little hole in it. That, or a joint is failing.
It seems the pros use sound to detect leaks, but here I may not have much luck. A cheap way to do that is get a stethoscope and use a piece of
2" PVC pipe capped off with a piece of styrofoam cup as a resonating chamber. Walk the line and listen for a muffled hiss with the stethoscope.
So that's what I'm gonna do when I get around to it. If anyone has any fancy leak detection methods that work better and faster, I'd appreciate it.
To make it louder, one can increase the pressure by blocking of the line if possible and using air to get the pressure way up. I can do that if necessary, although with my luck, I'd probably blow out the seals on the