Finding Water Leaks

You know you have a leak when your faucet drips, but do you know how to find a hidden leak? If you suspect you have a phantom water waster on your property, follow these tips to find the culprit.

First, make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your home.

Locate your water meter

Water MeterAbout 90 percent of all area residential water meters are located by the front sidewalk. The first step is to check your water meter for movement. Look at the top of the meter. You'll notice a triangle called a flow indicator. It'll move whenever water is passing through it. If your meter doesn't have a flow indicator, you can use the sweep hand on the register to indicate water loss. If either the flow indicator or the sweep hand is moving, you may have a leak or malfunction.

Check your toilets

Locating a leak is a process of elimination. Shut off one toilet at a time at the wall. In between each shutoff, go out to the water meter and check your flow indicator. If the small, red flow-indicator triangle is moving, that toilet is not the problem. Something else is causing a leak. If the small triangle stopped moving, that means it is the culprit.

Check your sprinkler system

Shut off the anti-siphon valve that serves your sprinkler system. Check the red flow-indicator triangle at the water meter. If the flow indicator stopped moving, the sprinkler system is the problem.

Check your main service line

First, you need to find your water shutoff valve. This is usually in your front yard near the sewer riser cap, in your garage or near your water softener unit. Shut off the valve, cutting off all water to your home, and go in the house and turn on a faucet to make sure the water is off. Check the red flow-indicator triangle at the meter. If the red triangle is moving, the leak is between the shutoff valve and the water meter.

Now what?

First, close the water meter cap to prevent damage to the lens and replace the meter box lid. If you are not able to find the leak, you should call a professional plumber to locate and fix the leak(s). If you find a simple leak like your toilet flapper or kitchen faucet, you may want to fix the problem yourself.

Information provided by SNWA.