DIY Leak Detection

For the do-it-yourselfers - Tips on leak detection

If you are experiencing high water bills and suspect there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing, try the following easy steps to save money and locate it on your own:

Step 1: Locate and observe your meter

  1. Read the water meter, noting the position of the red clock-style hand that records individual gallons
  2. Wait at least 15-30 minutes without turning on any inside or outside water fixtures
  3. Read the meter again to see if the red hand moved
    1. If it did not, there are probably no sizable leaks
    2. Waiting longer between meter readings (overnight, for instance) might help you detect smaller leaks
  4. If the red meter hand moved, check all of your faucets for visible leaks

Step 2: Checking the toilets for leaks

  1. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the tank
    1. Take the opportunity at this point to check float level
    2. If water is going into the over flow tube, adjust float level
  2. Wait one to two hours to see if the coloring appears in the toilet bowl
    1. If it does, this usually indicates a leaky flapper
    2. Repairing this type of leak is normally inexpensive and easy to do
    3. Replacement parts and kits with easy to follow instructions are available at most local hardware stores
  3. If no leaks are visible, then check for underground leaks

Step 3: Checking for underground leaks

  1. Turn off water at the house cut off
  2. Open faucet to verify that the valve is working (the water flow should stop completely)
  3. Go outside to the meter (if the meter is still running, there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing between the meter and the house)
NOTE: After making repairs, repeat the meter reading procedure to verify that all leak(s) have been properly repaired.

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