It is possible to detect leaks in your home on your own. Most water leaks can be seen or heard, though some can be very difficult to detect. Check your water bill each month. The bill has a chart that shows 13 months of water usage. Compare the current bill to the last bill for the same month. Is the usage in a similar range? If your usage level seems higher than you think it should be, check for a leak.
Determining if You Have a Water Leak & Isolating the Location
Pinpointing of where a leak might be located can help save hundreds of dollars in plumber fees. Fixing the problem helps conserve water and save money on your bill.
Here are steps to check if you have a leak:
- Turn off all water sources being used in the house or any water features in your yard. Locate the water meter on your property (See below for more information on water meters).
- Remove the meter box lid and lift up the metal cover on the meter and locate the red triangle on the face of the water meter. If your meter does not have a red triangle, make not of the location of the needle on the meter.
- Check to see if the red triangle or needle has moved after one minute.
If you have all of your water off in the house and yard and the red triangle is spinning or after five minutes the needle hasn’t moved, a leak is present somewhere on the property side of the meter. Also, if you still feel that you might have a leak, you can look at the meter when you go to bed and then first thing in the morning (making sure no one uses water in that time). If you have a bad a leak, it can be seen pretty fast. If it is a smaller leak, it may take more time to detect.
Finding the Leak
Isolate the line that runs from the house to the street. Follow these steps:
- Turn off the water valve at the house and at the backflow device (for the irrigation/sprinklers)
– If the red triangle/needle is turning there is a leak in the service line
– If the red triangle/needle is not moving, turn the backflow device back on and check the meter again
– If the red triangle/needle is turning, there is a leak in the irrigation/sprinkler system
– If the red triangle/needle is not spinning at this point, turn the backflow device off and turn the water valve at the house back on
– If the red triangle/needle is spinning, there is a leak in the house
- When done, turn on the water valve at the house and at the backflow device (for the irrigation and sprinklers)
Where to Look for a Water Leak in and Around Your House
Check your house for leaking toilets, faucets dripping, look under sink/fixtures, and in crawl spaces. You may also want to check your faucets and house connections for leaks and examine any outdoor water features for drips. Inspect pipes for pinhole leaks, leaking joints etc. Check around your house for puddles of water or investigate your property for soft spots. Listen for the leak. In pipes with 30 PSI or higher water pressure, there may be a “hiss” or “whoosh” sound indicating a leak may be present.
Who to Contact When You Have Determined You Have a Water Leak
If you need assistance locating or repairing your leak, you have several choices depending on your particular situation. Some people can dig up the suspected area and even fix their own leak. This is your own choice and could help eliminate expensive repair costs. You could also hire a professional. Leak detection companies, plumbers, or even sprinkler repair businesses can fix leaks. These companies can be easily found in the phone book or online.
Still Need Assistance Determining if You Have a Leak?
If you need assistance, please call the Operations Water Department at (360) 887-8251. Appointments to check for a leak can be scheduled Monday- Friday from 8:00 am- 3:30 pm.
Getting Your Water Turned Off
If you have an emergency water leak after normal business hours and you need to get your water turned off, please call the after hours Public Works number at (360) 518-8146.