How to Detect a Leak

The small, sometimes barely noticeable, leaks in your internal plumbing are costing you money, as well as wasting an important resource, and even a dripping faucet can "use" thousands of gallons a year.

If you have just filled your pool, started watering your garden, installed a dishwasher, or increased the number of people in your home or business, you can expect a jump in your water usage. But a one-time activity (such as filling your pool) should not make your bill stay higher; and gradually increasing billed volume should alert you to the possibility of leak in your system.

A 10-25% variation in water use per billing is not unusual. If your volume increases by 25% or more, or continues to creep up, and you have no rational explanation, you should try the following:

  1. Read the water meter, noting the position of the clock-style sweep hand that records individual cubic feet, and the white triangle "leak detector" indicator.
  2. Wait at least 15 minutes without using water.
  3. Look at the meter again to see if the sweep hand or "leak detector" moved. If it did not, there are probably no leaks. Slow and intermittent leaks can be detected by waiting longer between readings.
  4. If the meter hand did move, check all faucets for visible leaks.
  5. Check the toilets for leaks by adding food coloring to the water in the tank. Do not flush. Wait 15 minutes to see if the colored water appears in the toilet bowl. If it does, there is a leaking flapper valve in the tank, or water is leaking over the tank's high level overflow.
  6. If there appears to be no leaks inside your home, check outdoors for underground leaks in your service line, between the meter and your dwelling. Turn off your master valve where your water line enters the house. Open an indoor faucet to verify that the valve is working. The water flow should stop completely. Check the meter to see if the "leak detector" continues to run. If it does, there is a leak somewhere in our service line between the meter and your master valve.
  7. Repeat the meter reading procedure after making all repairs, to ensure that there are no more leaks.