Finding Leaks

Use your water meter to check for leaks.

The easiest way to determine if you have a leak in your plumbing system is to check your water meter.
  • Make sure water is not being used inside or outside of your house.
  • Find your water meter and check the triangular dial to see if it’s moving. If it is, you likely have a leak.
  • Another option is to wait a couple of hours and see if the meter reading has changed. If so, you likely have a leak. To learn more, visit our page How To Read Your Meter.

Is your leak inside or outside?

  • Find your home’s main shut off valve and shut off the water. Usually, these are located in the garage directly behind an outdoor faucet.
  • Check the meter again to see if there’s any movement. If there is no movement, then you have a leak inside the house. If the leak indicator continues to move, then you have a leak outside the house between the meter and the house.

Most common indoor leaks:

  • Leaking Faucets: Leaking faucets are often the result of a worn rubber washer usually located under the handle. These are relatively easy to replace if you have the right tools. Check your local home center or hardware store on how to repair faucet leaks.
  • Leaking Toilets: Toilet leaks can waste hundreds of gallons and are often silent. A small leak can add up to a lot of wasted water and money over time. To test your toilets for leaks, follow these steps:
  • Add a few drops of food coloring or a blue dye tab to the back of the toilet tank (not the bowl).
  • Wait about 30 minutes to see if any color comes through to the bowl.
  • If you see color, you have a leak.
  • In most cases, you simply need to replace the toilet flapper or the filling mechanism.

Most common outdoor leaks: 

  • Irrigation Systems: The first step is to walk around your property to look for leaks.  Look for wet spots, small holes and depressions, as they may indicate an underground leak. If you think you have a leak, follow these steps:
  • Look for missing or broken drip irrigation emitters or cracked tubing.
  • Look for missing or broken sprinkler heads or cracked riser pipes.
  • Check for missing or broken bubblers.
  • Check the backflow prevention device and irrigation valves.

For more information and on finding leaks go to these valuable resources, which include checklists, videos and more:

Residential Leak Detection Checklist (pdf)
Commercial Leak Detection Checklist (pdf)
Irrigation Audit and Leak Detection Checklist (pdf)
Water Leaks - Checks and Repairs

Outdoor Visual Leak Inspection
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