Turn off all faucets, water-demanding appliances such as swamp coolers, ice makers, water softeners, and outdoor hoses, etc. Be sure no one is using any water. Look at your water meter, see photo below for a typical water meter. If the dial on the meter moves after a 15-minute time frame, you most likely have a leak. Many water meters feature a “leak detector” which is a small red triangle or diamond on the face of the meter that will rotate during very low flows such as a dripping faucet. If the meter indicates that you have a leak, inspect all fixtures, appliances, and pipes to locate it, keeping in mind that there may be more than one source of leakage. Sometimes a leak may be hidden in the underground piping. If you believe this to be the case, find the main shut off at the house and turn the valve off. Check the meter again. If the red leak detector triangle is turning and there is no visible sign of water standing at the surface, call a leak detection service.
- Most leaks occur at the overflow pipe in the toilet tank. The water level is probably too high. Gently bend the float arm down so the valve shuts off the water about a half inch below the top of the overflow pipe. Newer flush valves can be adjusted with the screw at the top of the valve. If the valve is worn it may need to be replaced. You may need to call a plumber for help.
- Some leaks occur at the plunger ball or flapper in the toilet tank, which allows water to seep into the bowl and down the drain unnoticed. Drop some food coloring into the tank of clear water and wait to see if it shows up in the bowl. If it does, you most likely have a leak at the plunger ball or flapper. The mechanism may either be out of alignment or may need to be replaced.
- Faucets will also leak and are most commonly caused by worn washers. Faucets should be checked once or twice per year. Turn off the faucet. If the faucet continues to drip, turn off the supply line to fix it. Take the faucet apart and replace the washer. The washer size is important. It needs to fit inside the cup-shaped valve stem and spread out to the edges when it’s screwed down. Many newer faucet designs use cartridges and/or O-rings instead of washers and may present a bigger challenge to the do-it-yourselfer; you may need to seek help from a plumber especially if the faucet is a single lever or joystick-type control.Typical Meter Pictured Below