Slow drips of water can add up quickly. Your water meter may be your most useful tool in identifying water leaks on your property.
Use Your Water Meter To Detect Leaks
- Turn off every water-using item inside and outside the house.
- Locate your water meter. Water meters are usually located near the street or sidewalk at the front or side of the house.
- The water meter is your indicator of water use. When water is not being used, nothing on the meter should be moving. Water meters have numbers which record usage. Most residential water meters have a red triangle “leak detector”, which senses small leaks. Record the meter
- After 30 minutes, record another meter reading. Compare your readings. Your two readings should be the same because no water should have been used. If the two numbers are different, or you see the red triangle “leak detector” moving, you have a leak.
- Most leaks are found in running toilets and faucets. Toilets are notorious for their silent leaks. To test the toilet, put a little food coloring into the toilet tank. Wait at least 30 minutes. If you see color showing up in the bowl, the toilet is leaking. Another method is to mark the water level in the tank with a pencil, turn off the water feeding the tank, then see if the water level drops. Fixing the leak may be as simple as replacing the flapper or making a small adjustment to the float mechanism so that water doesn’t seep into the overflow tube.
- If you still can’t locate the leak, find the shut-off valve for your home. It should be in the meter box or near the location where the water line enters the building. Close the home’s shut-off valve. If the dial stops, your leak is inside the building. If the dial continues to run, you may have an underground leak between the water meter and the shut-off valve.
Leaks don’t repair themselves - They will get worse over time. For information on water wasted due to leaks, visit the
Water Wiser Drip Calculator.