How to Detect Water Leaks

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A small leak, about the size of the head of a pin, dripping at one drop per second can add up to 7 gallons of water per day. A large leak, the kind most often found in toilets, can waste 200 gallons of water or more per day! Check out the following when you suspect a leak:

Check faucets in the bathroom and kitchen periodically. Most often, worn washers are the cause of dripping faucets.

Sprinkler Systems
Sprinkler Systems Broken sprinkler heads or damaged underground pipes are common sources of sprinkler system leaks. Watch your system run at least once per month to spot problems early.

Check toilets for leaks often. The most common causes of a leaking toilet are

  1. Float device set too high, which causes water to run into the overflow tube
  2. A warped or cracked flapper
Toilet leak kits are available. The kit contains tablets that are dropped into the toilet tank. After the tablets are placed in the tank wait 15 minutes, then check the toilet bowl. (Remember, don’t flush during this time.) If the water in the bowl changes color, you have a leak!

Don’t forget to use your water meter to detect leaks.
Use your water meter to determine if you have a leak.

*Make sure no water is being used inside or outside (no clothes washer filling, no shower running, no water outdoors, etc.).

*Locate your water meter box, carefully remove the cover and lift the top of the meter.

*Find the leak detector (the small triangle on the meter dial). If all of your water sources are off and the leak detector is rotating, you may have a leak. Leaks can waste thousands of gallons of water in just a few days. It pays to fix leaks promptly.

How to Check for a Water Leak

Finding water leaks can save you water, which means saving money on water and sewer bills. Follow these easy steps to determine if you have a leak in domestic or a sprinkler irrigation system.

Step 1. Turn all water-using appliances off so that no water is being used. This means turning off all water inside and outside the house including showers, sinks, washing machines and any appliance that uses water.

If you have a sprinkler irrigation system, turn off the controller and manually shut off the two valves at the double check valve assembly to isolate the irrigation system.

Step 2. Take the lid off the meter box and the protective cover. Watch the Meter. Your meter will have a triangular/ round red or black disc that is commonly called a “leak indicator” if it is spinning you have a leak. If there is no indicator and the actual meter dial hand is moving, water is running somewhere in your system and you have a leak. If the hand is not moving, note the position of the hand and wait 10 minutes. Check the meter again, if it has moved, you have a slow leak-if not you do not have a leak.

Step 3. Locate the main shut off valve to the house. This is usually located close to the meter box.

Step 4. Turn off the valve.

Step 5. Turn on a faucet inside the house to test. If water still flows from the faucet after several seconds, the shut off valve is not working. If no water flows through the faucet, the shut off valve is not working. Return to the meter.

Step 6. Check if the meter’s leak indicators hand is moving. If the leak indicator or dial hand is still moving, water is flowing between the meter and the shut-off valve. That means you have a leak between the meter and the customer-side shut-off valve. If it is not moving then you have a leak between the customer-side shut-off valve and possible somewhere in the house. Check toilets, washing machines, faucets, etc., for any leak.

Step 7. To check a toilet for leak: flush the toilet and while the reservoir is still filling, add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring to the water in the reservoir. Wait 15-30 minutes. If the water in the bowl changes colors, the flapper valve needs to be replaced.