- Public Works
- Leak Detection
Leaks not only cause water loss, but may lead to high water bills. A sudden increase in your water charges could be a result of a water leak.
Video produced by American Water Works Association
Take a Meter Reading
The best way to check for leaks in the entire plumbing system is to take a meter reading.
To ensure your test is accurate, take your reading at a time when no one at your residence will be using water for several hours. Several hours after taking your first reading, take another reading.
- Turn off all faucets in and around the house.
- Make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are not in use.
- If you have a swimming pool or irrigation system, make sure they are not in use.
- Record meter reading once everything is shut off.
We recommend that customers take the first reading before they go to sleep and then the second when they wake up (before using any water). The two readings should be the same if no one has used water in the house for several hours. If the readings are not the same, you probably have a leak.
There is also a small triangle or diamond on the face of the water meter known as the fine flow indicator. During the meter inspection while all of your water appliances are off, the indicator should not move. If the indicator is moving then this means that water is going through the meter and into the house.
Remember: humidifiers, refrigerator units, ice makers, toilets and all water softeners use water. If these items are in use, water will pass through your meter and affect the reading.
Test Your Toilets
Toilets are the most common sources of leaks and they can be relatively easy to detect.
Place a few drops of food coloring in the tank, but do not flush. After a few minutes, if the coloring appears in the bowl, your toilet is indeed leaking. Usually all that is needed is a replacement flapper valve, which is the soft rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank. Water corrodes these flappers over time and it is recommended that they be replaced every two years. The adjustment screw at the back of the toilet may also need to be corrected to stop water from going into the overflow tube.
Other Common Causes for Leaks
- Irrigation Systems – Walk around your yard to check for soggy areas. Make sure to inspect sprinkler heads and valves.
- Water Heaters – Check for standing water around your water heater (often there is a drip pan at the base).
- Ice makers – Be sure it is still properly connected and not dripping.
- Faucets – Dripping faucets can cause substantial water loss every month.
- Pools – Check your equipment for leaks. Make sure to inspect your pumps, filters, heater and valves for water loss.
Request a Water Audit
Water leaks can be silent and expensive to homeowners. The steps above may help you save money and conserve water, however, some may not be up to the task of searching to see if their home has a leak.
If a homeowner requests and pays for a water audit or a reading, the City can help determine if water is moving through their meter. This service only identifies that the resident has a leak; the City does not locate the leak in the home. If a leak is detected the homeowner may want to seek a professional plumber.