Tips for Determining Water Loss/Leak

If your bill has gradually or dramatically increased, it is likely due to higher consumption of water. If you have not changed your habits or performed any high usage activities, such as pressure washing, filling a pool, or using for irrigation, you may have a loss of water or leak. Below are some tips on how to find any losses of water or leaks on your property.

Checking your water meter for consumption

One of the best ways to tell if you have a leak in some part of your plumbing is to check the water meter. To determine if your meter is showing usage with no intended water running, please follow the steps below: 

  1. Turn off all of the water in your home. Shut off all faucets and make sure the dishwasher and washing machine are not running. 
  2. Locate your water meter, which is usually located in the yard near the street. Be careful when opening the lid. 
  3. Watch the meter and see if it begins to change. Note, if you have a digital interface meter style, you will have to shine a light on it to wake it up. If you meter shows movement with no intended water running, you may have a leak. 
  4. If the meter doesn’t change immediately, wait a while longer and check it again. If it has changed despite all of the water being off, you may be dealing with a slower or intermittent leak. 
  5. To pinpoint where the water loss is occurring, start by turning off the water valves on your property and checking the meter. It is recommended to start with the main valve that shuts off all of the water going inside the property (this is usually located as a second valve underneath the hose spigot outside or can also be commonly found inside of the garage). If the meter shows movement after the main valve is off, the water loss is most likely between the meter and the main valve (i.e., an underground pipe).
  6. If your meter shows no movement with the main valve off, turn the main valve back on. Once the main valve is back on, go inside the property and turn off every individual valve (each of your toilets and sinks should have their own valves usually located underneath). Open each valve up one by one, checking the meter each time for movement.

Remember that all piping after the meter is a homeowner’s responsibility. 

checking your toilet for leaks/loss of water

Toilet leaks are the most common cause of an increasing water bill and can be difficult to detect. To help determine if your toilet may be leaking, please follow the steps below: 

  1. Place a toilet tablet* or colored liquid in the tank of the toilet – NOT the bowl. 
  2. WAIT for 15-30 minutes or longer and check the bowl for the colored water.
  3. If the bowl water has any color from the tank in it, this is indicating that the flapper may not be sealing properly and may need to be replaced. 
  4. Do this test several times over several days to ensure proper function of toilet. 

*Toilet test tablets are available free of charge at City Hall.