How to Check for Leaks

If you are experiencing high water consumption you might want to check for a water leak.

Ways To Check for Leaks
  • Turn off all faucets and appliances that use water.
  • Find your water meter. It’s in a concrete or plastic meter box in the ground by the street, near a property line or out from the outside water spigot.
  • Look at the meter. Most meters have a red “telltale” indicator. See picture below. If you see it moving when the water is off, you have a leak.
  • If your meter does not have a telltale indicator, note the position of the sweephand and the cubic feet numbers. See picture below. Wait 30 minutes without using water and then look again. If the sweephand has moved you have a leak.
Sweephand - Cubic Feet Numbers - Low Flow TriangleLeak Detector
Sweephand and Leak Detector - Cubic Feet Numbers
Inside/Outside Leak
To determine if the leak is in or outside of the home, find your main shut-off valve to your house and turn it off. Go back out to the meter. If the red indicator is not moving the leak is inside the home; if it is moving your leak is outside the home.

To Locate Inside Leaks
  • Replace worn washer in faucets and shower-heads.
  • To determine if your toilet is leaking, look at the toilet bowl after the tank has stopped filling. If water is still running into the bowl, or if water can be heard running, your toilet is leaking. Most toilet leaks occur at the overflow pipe or at the plunger ball inside the tank. To locate a toilet leak, take the tank lid off and flush. The water level should come up to about a half inch or so below the overflow pipe. Adjust the float level control screw, if necessary, so the valve shuts off the water at that level. If the valve itself is leaking, you may need a plumber to fix it.
To Test for Silent Leaks
  • Put several drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. Do not flush. Wait for about 10 minutes. If the color appears in the toilet bowl, your toilet has a silent leak. It is probably located in or around the plunger ball or flapper valve at the bottom of the tank. These leaks are also easy to fix with parts from your hardware or home store.
To Locate Outside Leaks
  • Check the outside taps for leaking water, particularly during the summer sprinkling season. A hose mistakenly left dribbling away in the grass or garden can waste thousands of gallons of water over the course of a summer. Remember to close outside faucets tightly every time you shut off the water!
  • Check for moist spots around plumbing under the house and outside. Repairs will vary depending on the type of service line your home has, examples:. Galvanize, PVC, PEpolyurethane, copper.