Water Leaks

How to Check for a Water Leak

Most high bills are due to leaks. The best method for determining whether or not a leak exists is to take actual water meter readings. This method checks the entire internal plumbing system for water leaks.


Take a water meter reading just before going to bed, or when no one will use any water for several hours. Take another meter reading in the morning before any water is used, or after a few hours of non-usage. In theory, the two readings should be the same. If they are not, and you cannot account for use by a humidifier, ice cube maker, toilet flush, or water softener, you have a leak and further investigation is recommended.

Water Leak

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Did You Know?

A leak through the following diameter hole at 60 psi will result in this much wasted water per quarter of the year (3 months):

Stream DiameterGallonCubic FeetCubic Meters

The Most Common Water Waster: Toilet Leaks

The toilet is one of the most common water wasters but its leaks tend to be less noticeable than faucet leaks. 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.

Although water may not be seen or heard running, your toilet may have a silent leak. To test for a silent leak, drop a little food coloring into the tank. Do not flush. Wait for about 10 minutes. If the food coloring 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 easy to fix with parts from your local hardware or home store.

If no leaks were found, a thorough inspection of your pipes, lines, connections, and valves under your home or in your basement, would be the next step. Your hot water tank could have a hole rusted in the bottom or the drain valve may be leaking.

By following these simple steps, you should be successful in finding accurate results that could save you money.