The first clue most homeowners get that water is leaking somewhere inside their home is an unusually large water bill. If your water bill seems high, it’s time to look for a leak. Most water leaks start out small and are easy to find with a few simple steps.
Hot Water Tanks
The valves for these tanks are usually connected to a drain pipe that may be leaking without your knowledge. If you can’t remove drain pipe, listen for a hissing sound that indicates a leak.
To find a leak in a toilet, first remove the lid from the tank. Listen for any sounds of water draining or for hissing noises. If you hear those noises, try to locate their source or call a plumber.
If you don’t hear a leaking noise, add a few drops of food coloring to the tank. After about five minutes, check the bowl for coloring. If the water is colored, this indicates a leak in the flapper. You can replace the flapper or all the toilet tank parts with a kit you can buy at the hardware store.
After you rule out the toilets as the source of your leak, look at the meter line running to your house. Locating the leak for the plumber will save plenty of money, so this is an important step.
Turn the shut-off valve for the water to the off position. Remove the lid on the meter, and watch the meter’s dial. In some cases, grass or dirt may be covering the meter head. Watch to see if the meter is turning. A turning meter indicates a leak somewhere between the meter and the house.
Look for greener grass, muddier ares or soft spots in the yard that may indicate a leak to report to the plumber. Alternately, if the meter is not moving, the leak is somewhere in the house.
Leaks By The House
To check the outside water faucets, put a metal screwdriver on the metal part of each hose bib connected to the house. Place your thumb knuckle over the top of the screwdriver. Touch the area just in front of your ear to your thumb knuckle.
This creates an effect similar to a stethoscope. If you hear any sounds, remember what they sound like and where they are. When noises are louder in one hose bib than the other, this means the leak is closer to the bib where the noise is louder. If you don’t hear any noises on the hose bibs, try the same tip on the faucets in the house. Be careful to avoid scalding when doing this with the hot water heater lines.
Additional Leak Sources
Check all your taps, irrigation systems, hoses and sprinklers. Also, check the shower heads for any leaks. This is a step that many people overlook, and repairing a shower head is a simple do-it-yourself task.
If you have a swimming pool, hot tub or other water feature, that unit could be the source of your leak.
Not all leaks can be identified by using the tips in this guide. Some leaks can be very hard to locate and will require the attention of a professional plumber.
Never ignore leaks — they will only worsen when you don’t deal with them. Taking the time to complete these steps may pay off even if you can’t fix your own leak because the plumber won’t have to charge as much if you’ve already pinpointed the leak’s location.