Having a water leak in your home not only means a higher water bill but also damage to the structure of the house or its foundation. If you notice your water bill has increased for no reason you can think of, it is probable that you have a leak somewhere. Here is a way to verify there is a leak and a few ways to help find it.
Verify a Leak
The easiest way to verify a leak is to go to the meter. Make sure there is no running water in the house first. Turn off the washing machine and dishwasher, and make sure the toilets have finished filling after a flush. Now, go outside to the meter and see if it is turning.
Is the Leak Outside or Inside?
If the meter indicates that water is still flowing even if none is being used, the first thing to determine is whether the leak is inside the house or in the pipes between the meter and the house. To do this, find the main water shut-off valve on the house. Do not turn the water off at the meter. If the meter is still turning after the water to the house has been stopped, the leak is in the pipes underground. If the meter has stopped turning, it is in the house somewhere.
Check the Toilet and Hot Water Heater
The toilet and hot water heater are appliances that could have water flowing to them when you are not actually using them. To check the water heater, try to remove the drain pipe. If water is continually dripping or streaming from it, there is a leak. If you cannot remove the drain pipe, listen for a hissing sound by placing your ear to the tank.
To check the toilet, place drops of food coloring into the holding tank. Make sure to use enough dye to be able to see the color in the water. Leave the room and wait 30 minutes to an hour—but no one can flush the toilet during this time! Now, go and see if there is any color in the bowl. If there is, there is a something wrong that is causing the system to use more water than it should.
Check Faucets and Pipes
If neither the hot water heater nor the toilet are leaking, you will need to go through the house and check all faucets and visible pipes. Keep in mind that the water may flow along a pipe before dripping, meaning the leak is not always where there is dripping.
If you cannot find the leak but know you are using more water than you should, contact a local plumber to come figure out the problem. You do not want to end up having to repair a wall, floor, or ceiling because it has been damaged by a leak you did not know about or could not find. Go to sites about plumbing to learn more.