Hot Topics - Water Leaks 

March 2018

Water leaks account for about 12% of average household water use. Not all leaks leave evidence behind, and oftentimes the only impact you will see of a leak shows up on your water bill.

Detecting Household Leaks

Start with Toilets

Toilets are the most common household leak, and also the easiest leak to troubleshoot. Put a drop of dye in the back of the tank. Check back after about 15 minutes. If there is dye in the bowl, there is a leak. A bad flapper seal, damaged float, and a water level set too high are the three causes for toilet leaks. 

Inspect Fixtures

Take a close look at shower heads, faucets (inside and out!), sprinkler systems, ice makers, water purifiers, and piping under the sink. Look for signs of pipe leaks, like warped or discolored ceiling, walls, and floors. 

Check the Salt in the Water Softener

If there is no salt or a salt bridge has formed, the softener will regenerate more frequently and unnecessarily. 

Radiant Heat or Hydronic In-Floor Heat

These systems can be determined by shutting off the boiler and water supply and checking the meter to see if flow has stopped. 

Examine Applicances

Look at your dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters.

Whole House Humidifiers

If you have a humidifier attached to the furnace, this could be the cause of a leak. The equipment often includes an overflow drain to the sewer in case the refill valve fails to close. When the valve does fail, the water is sent directly into the sewer. This allows leaks to occur for months or years before anyone realizes the water waste. 

Use Your Water Meter

Leaks can start and stop, so it is best to troubleshoot a leak while it is happening. 

How to tell if Water is in Use

To determine if water is in use, complete the following steps:
Check the flow indicator (line with arrow on both sides) by closely watching it for two minutes. 

Determine the following conditions:
  • If the arrow is flashing, then water is running very slowly
  • If the arrow is continuously ON, water is running
  • If the arrow does not flash, water is not running

What to do if there is a Leak

Take turns shutting off the water valve for each fixture and check the meter to see if flow has stopped. 

If Continuous Leak is Repaired 
If a continuous leak is found an repaired, complete the following steps:
  • Use no water for at least 15 minutes
  • Check the leak icon (faucet dripping)
  • If the leak indicator is continuous on to flashing, then a leak is no longer indicated
If Intermittent Leak is Repaired 
If a intermittent leak is found an repaired, complete the following steps:
  • Check the leak icon (faucet dripping) after at least 24 hours
  • If the leak has been correctly repaired, the leak icon changes from flashing to off. 

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