How to Find Water Line Leaks


Water leaks can ruin gardens, destroy flooring, cause mold and mildew, encourage pest habitation, stain walls and floors, and cost a lot of money. To detect a water leak, you must follow certain steps, eliminating possible sources. This should be tried before contacting your water company or municipality to save money when the problem may be easy to find and fix.

  • Turn off all faucets in your home and instruct everyone in the household not to use the water. Check the water meter. If the dial is still moving, there is a leak.

  • Inspect the water meter for indications of a leak in the line. Water meters are usually in the basement or on the sidewalk outside the home and have faces with dials on them. This dial moves imperceptibly under normal circumstances. When there is a leak, the dial will move actively. A small movement may indicate a small leak in the line. A dial that moves very quickly is an indication of a serious problem and may be caused by a broken water main. If this is the case, contact your water provider immediately.

  • Turn off the bathroom toilet at the wall and check the water meter again. If the dial has slowed or stopped, the toilet is the source of the leak. If the water meter dial is still moving, move to another water source.

  • Continue to turn off toilets and sinks at the mains and checking the water meter for any signs of change. Detecting a leak is always a process of eliminating possible sources.

  • Move outside and check perimeter appliances, such as sprinkler systems, pools and water-softening units, checking the water meter after turning off each one. If none of the appliances produce a change in the water meter, the leak may be in the main water line.

  • Turn off the main water supply to the house. The main shut-off valve is next to the water softener, in the front yard or in the garage in most cases. Turn it to the off position and make sure it is off by turning on a faucet in the house. No water means the main is off.

  • Check the water meter again. If the dial is still moving, there is a leak between the meter and the main water valve. If the meter is not moving, there is a leak in the main valve. If you cannot locate and fix the leak by yourself, call a professional plumber.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if you repair the water leak, it is a good idea to contact the local water company and explain the problem to try to get a reduction in your water bill.
  • Never attempt a plumping job without professional experience or guidance.

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