Water Leaks

You can use your water meter for leak detection. Go to your meter. You will see a glass dial similar to a clock face. There will be an odometer style wheel and a sweep hand. Write down the reading on the odometer style wheel and the position of the sweep hand. There will also be a low flow indicator on the dial face. If the low flow indicator is moving when you are not knowingly using water, this is a good indication there is a leak.

After reading the meter, use no water for at least 2 hours. You can read the meter just before you leave the house for work, shopping or do the test overnight. Take a second reading after a minimum of 2 hours. If you used no water, the two readings should be the same. If the reading has changed the sweep hand or low flow indicator has moved, somewhere on the property water is being used.

Looking for Water Leaks

Most leaks are easy to find, but some can go undetected. Here are some ways to look for a leak.

Finding & Fixing Common Toilet Leaks

Fill Tube Replacement: Make sure the refill tube is securely inside the overflow tube, so that it does not pop out when the toilet starts refilling. It should not be inserted more than two inches.

Incorrect water level: If your toilet constantly runs, the water level may be too high and draining out the overflow tube. You can correct this with the Float adjustment screw. Flush the tank and then turn this screw Clockwise to lower the float, and cause the water to be shut off earlier. Adjust this screw until the water shuts off one inch before it reaches the top of the overflow tube or is even with the "water level line."

Adjusting the water level: Turn the Float Adjustment Screw clockwise to lower the water level and counterclockwise to raise it. If this adjustment is corroded or stripped, the unit will need to be replaced.

Leaking flapper: If water still flows from the tank to the bowl, it is likely that the flapper needs to be replaced. Before doing this, make sure you have the correct flapper for your toilet. 1.6 gallons per flush toilets use special flappers, and using an incorrect or universal flapper could result in your toilet using much more water than it should

Flapper Replacement: Leaking flappers are easily replaced, but it's important on 1.6 gallons per flush toilets to get the correct one. Flapper replacement involves draining the tank, removing the old flapper and installing the new one, and adjusting the chain length. Flappers are made of rubber, and are easily slipped on and off the pins on the overflow tube.

Faucets, Bathtubs & Showers

  • Place washer in leaking faucets.
  • Replace cartridges or complete fixtures on washer less faucets.
  • Check outside faucets, replace washers as needed.

Water Heater

  • Replace leaky pressure relief valve.
  • Check that drain valve is closed completely.

Dishwasher & Clothes Washer

  • Look for water marks or stains underneath machine.
  • Check hoses for leaks.

Sprinkler Systems

  • Check settings on automatic timers.
  • Replace damaged sprinkler heads.
  • Make sure all drain plugs are in place.
  • Check to see if the backflow device is leaking.


Even a small leak costs money.

Leak SizeWastes This Much Water Every Two MonthsCan Cost This Much More on Your Water Bill
1/16 inch49,000 gallons$521.36
1/8 inch197,000 gallons$2,096.08
3/16 inch444,000 gallons$4,724.16
1/4 inch788,000 gallons$8,384.32

If You Don't Find a Leak

  • Did you use more water outside?
    Lawn watering, install sod or re-seed, Children using the sprinkler to play.
  • Were there additional people in the home?
    Relatives or friends staying with you.
  • Do extra loads of laundry before and after vacation?
  • Go on vacation and leave someone else in charge of lawn maintenance?
  • Does the furnace have an automatic humidifier?
  • Do you rent your unit?