Find & Fix Leaks

Easy Ways to Find & Fix Leaks

Where’s your emergency shut-off?

If a water pipe broke in your home, could you quickly find the shut-off valve? Know where it’s located before you have an emergency. It should be in or near your house. Look in the following places:

  • In the basement or crawl space, where the water line enters the home.
  • In the garage where the water line enters the wall or ceiling, near the water heater or laundry hookup.
  • Outside near the foundation, often protected by a concrete ring or clay pipe.

Do you have leaks?

Undetected leaks can be costly. Even one small drip in a faucet can waste more than 60,000 gallons of water each year. Figuring out if you have a leak is as easy as reading your water meter.

1. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, such as the dish and clothes washers.

2. Find your water meter

  • If your water meter is inside your house, you’ll usually find it in your basement, crawl space or utility room.
  • If it’s outside, look for a covered “pit” in front of your house, set flush to the ground.
  • Lift the cover for the meter dial.
  • Most meters have a red “telltale” indicator. If you see it moving when all the water is turned off, you probably have a leak.

3. Read your meter

If your meter doesn’t have a ”telltale” indicator, you will need to read the meter. Reading your meter is like reading the odometer of a car. Read the numbers from left to right that appear under or over the words "Cubic Feet" or “Gallons”:

  • The first number on the right represents one cubic foot or gallon.
  • The second number from the right represents 10 cubic feet, or 10 gallons.
  • The third from the number (usually a different color) represents 100 cubic feet (or one "CCF"), or 1,000 gallons (one “kgal”).One revolution of the meter sweep-hand (the arm that goes around in a circle) equals one cubic foot or 7.48 gallons.
  • Though some meters register in gallons, water is measured in units of 100 cubic feet, or CCFs, which equal 748 gallons.
  • Read and write down the entire reading (all numbers).Wait 30-60 minutes, without using any water.
  • Check the reading again. If the reading has changed, you probably have a leak somewhere in your plumbing system.
  • Looking for leaks

Leak Checklist

Here’s a checklist of the places you should look for drips or moisture that indicates a plumbing leak:


  • Kitchen
  • Sink faucet and spray hose
  • Dishwasher
  • Refrigerator (including icemaker)
  • Bathrooms and lavatories
  • Toilets
  • Bathtub faucets
  • Showerheads
  • Sink faucets
  • Jacuzzis
  • Bidets
  • Laundry rooms, utility rooms and basements
  • Washing machine
  • Water softener
  • Humidifier
  • Hot water tank
  • Boiler
  • Utility sink
  • Pipes and shut-offs


  • Faucets
  • Garden hose and connections
  • Lawn sprinkler system
  • Swimming pool
  • Hot tub or spa
  • Ponds and fountains

Locating Smaller Leaks

Toilet Leak Test

Fix leaky valves in toilets. How to test for a leaky valve: Put food coloring in the toilet tank. If the color seeps into the toilet bowl without a flush, replace the flapper valve.

Signs of Other Leaks

Check for moist spots around and under the house plumbing and around outdoor plumbing. You may need to call a plumber to repair those leaks, which, besides wasting water, can also damage floors, walls and ceilings.

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