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
Here’s a checklist of the places you should look for drips or moisture that indicates a plumbing leak:
- Sink faucet and spray hose
- Refrigerator (including icemaker)
- Bathrooms and lavatories
- Bathtub faucets
- Sink faucets
- Laundry rooms, utility rooms and basements
- Washing machine
- Water softener
- Hot water tank
- Utility sink
- Pipes and shut-offs
- 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.