How to detect a leak

Checking for Leaks

One of the first signs of a water leak is an unexplained increase in your water bill. Extra people in the house, lawn watering, or a faucet that has been left running will increase your usage. Other sources may be leaks in the toilet, water softener, furnace humidifier, and sprinkling system.

To help identify leaks, it is helpful to monitor your water meter. You will need to do this during a time period when no one will be using water. The best time to monitor is when no one is home. Write down the reading on the meter. You will need a flashlight to activate the meter reading area. Do not use any water for a minimum of two hours. At the end of the monitoring time, read the meter a second time. If the second reading is different, water has gone through the meter, indicating there may be a leak.

If a leak is detected, it is recommended to check the toilets first. Information and dye strips are available in our office.

Where to Look for 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 fit 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 also easy to fix with parts from your hardware or home store.


Most leaks result from worn washers in household faucets and showerheads. These faucets, as well as seldom-used taps in the basement or storage rooms, should be checked periodically. Faucet leaks are usually caused by worn washers or "O" rings (for washerless faucets). Repairing faucet leaks is easy! All you have to do is turn off the water supply line to that faucet, replace the washer and turn on the line again. Any good do-it-yourself book will offer advice on this simple task. If you're not a do-it-yourselfer, have the work done by someone who knows how to do the job.

Outside Taps 

Check the outside taps for leaking water, particularly during the summer sprinkling season. A hose mistakenly left dribbling away in the grass or garden can waste thousands of gallons of water over the course of a summer. Remember to close outside faucets tightly every time you shut off the water!

Water Costs Money ... Don't Waste it!

A dripping faucet or fixture can waste 3 gallons a day - a total of 1,095 gallons a year!

Waste Per Quarter at 60 psi Water Pressure

Diameter of Stream


Cubic Feet

Cubic Meters

















A continuous leak from a hole the size of the stream indicated in the 
first column over a three-month period would generate waste 
water in the amounts shown above.