Detecting Leaks – Stop That Drip!
Leaks in your water system can account for up to 10% of your water bill. Check your entire system for leaks periodically by using the following steps:
- Locate the water meter and take the meter reading by noting the black and white numbers that record individual usage in cubic metres (m3).
- Wait at least 5 to 15 minutes without using water. Look at the meter again and see if the numbers have changed. If it has, there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing. If the change is slight then you might have a slow or intermittent leak.
- Waiting longer between readings (overnight, for instance) might help detect slow or intermittent leaks. You can do this by reading your meter twice – first at night when everyone is finished using water for the day and then first thing in the morning before water has been used by anyone.
- Find the difference by subtracting the first reading from the second to calculate how much water (if any) leaked or passed though the meter overnight.
- To locate the leak, you will need to have both the outside and inside plumbing checked.
- Check every faucet for leaks. Even a slow drip can waste up to 75 litres a day!
- Check the toilets for leaks by adding food colouring to the water in the tank. DO NOT FLUSH. Wait 5 to 15 minutes to see if the coloured water appears in the toilet bowl. If it does, there is a leak in the system. Repairing toilet leaks is normally inexpensive and easy to do. Replacement part kits are available at most hardware stores.
- Listen for gurgling or hissing sounds coming from your toilet. These noises indicate that the flush ball needs to be adjusted to stop wasting water.
- Checks on the outside can be done by turning off your stopcock and then open a faucet to verify that the valve is working – the water flow should stop completely. Go back outside to the meter to see if it continues to register water use with the stopcock off. If it does, there is a leak somewhere in your plumbing between the meter and the stopcock.
- After making repairs, repeat the meter reading procedure to verify that there are no more leaks.