TIPS ON CHECKING FOR WATER LEAKS
- Monitor Your Water Meter
If you start to notice a higher water bill but you know that your water usage hasn’t increased, it’s a good sign that there’s a leak. Keep a close eye on your water meter to see if you detect any fluctuations.
While you’re outside, make sure that there is no water source accidentally left turned on such as a garden hose. Turn all water off including inside water before you check the meter.
Next, take a closer look at the leak indicator and look for any movement. It depends on the type meter you have but for many, it’s a triangular-shaped dial.
If the dial is turning after you’ve turned the water off, you likely have a leak. Another option is to take a reading and then wait an hour or two.
Take a second water meter reading to see if anything has changed. This is how to detect water leaks for most of your home. Just make sure you haven’t used any water during that hour to a two-hour window.
- Check Your Faucets
For many homeowners, the source of a water leak stems from the faucets. A worn rubber washer is often the culprit and can be found underneath the handle.
Most home improvement or hardware stores sell replacement gaskets and the tools you need to fix this simple, common problem.
- How to Detect Water Leaks from Your Toilet
The toilet is another common culprit for water leaks, and it can often go unnoticed. A leaky toilet can waste several hundred gallons of water, which also means it can waste quite a bit of money.
Remove your tank lid and add a few drops of food coloring (or Kool-Aid) to the tank.
Let the coloring saturate the water and wait approximately 30 minutes without flushing. If any color has come through the tank and into the toilet bowl, you likely have a leak.
Luckily, these types of leaks can often be resolved by replacing the flapper. The flapper has likely just worn out over time or become cracked which causes water to constantly flow from the tank into the bowl without you even noticing.
Also, if you need to jiggle the handle to keep your toilet from running, you likely have an issue with the flush bar and chain sticking.
You can fix this by adjusting the nut that secures this mechanism inside the tank. Or, you might need to replace the handle since it could be sticking.
- Perform a Visual Inspection
Leaks coming from plumbing inside the ceiling or walls can slowly go unnoticed until it’s too late. You can stop these types of leaks before they get out of control with a simple visual inspection.
Take a closer look at your walls and ceilings in every room. If you notice unusual staining or discoloration, you could have a hidden leak. A busted pipe is definitely something you want to fix as soon as possible.
Be on the lookout for mold or strange dips and bowing the ceiling or walls. Water damage will cause the material to stretch and eventually cave in.
This isn’t something you should stress about too much, but an occasional visual check can’t hurt. Often, people don’t know about a serious leak until their ceilings are completely caved in.
- Be Aware of Underground Water Leaks
Outdoor water leaks can get quite expensive to repair, so it’s important to know what to look for. If an area of your yard seems softer than others or you notice dark spots, this could be cause for concern.
If one particular area around your home seems to stay wet even after a dry spell, this is a red flag. You can also look closely near your driveway and street and see if you notice any unusual water flow.
Water flow doesn’t have to be a constant stream of flowing water. Even puddles that seem out of place may indicate that there’s a deep, underground leak.