H o w

How to Check for a Water Leak
If you receive an unusually high water bill and cannot substantiate an increase in your water
consumption, you more than likely have a leak. The best method for determining whether or
not a leak exists is to take actual water meter readings. This method will check your internal
plumbing system for water leaks. You will need to locate your water meter and record the
meter’s numeric reading just before going to bed, or when no water use will occur for several
hours. Take another water meter reading in the morning before any water use, or after
several hours of non-usage. In theory, the two meter readings should be identical. If they
are not and you cannot account for any water usage, you have a leak. (Don’t forget about
water usage from humidifiers, heating systems, icemakers or your water softener. These type
appliances can use water without human involvement.)
Damaging water leaks in your home are often quite easy to identify and fix. Major breaks in
water pipes are noticed right away. What you may not realize is there can be many hidden
leaks you cannot so easily detect unless you are looking for them. Even the smallest leaks
result in large amounts of water losses because they occur 24 hours per day and they
generally get worse, not better, when ignored. By following these simple steps, you should be
successful in detecting the most common water leaks in the home that could save you money
when corrected.
Leaky faucets and showerheads are a major waste of water. One slow dripping faucet can
waste up to 20 gallons of water a day. Repairing faucets can be as simple as shutting off the
water supply to that particular faucet, and replacing the faucet’s washer. If you feel you need
some assistance in doing this consult with a qualified plumber for advice or help.
The toilet is one of the most common water wasters but its leaks tend to be less noticeable
than faucet leaks. To determine if your toilet is leaking, look at the toilet bowl after the tank
has stopped filling. If water is still running into the bowl, or if water can be heard running,
your toilet is leaking. Most toilet leaks occur at the overflow pipe or at the plunger ball inside
the tank. To locate a toilet leak, take the tank lid off and flush. The water level should come
up to about a half inch or so below the top of the overflow pipe. If water flows into the
overflow pipe, adjust the float level control screw or control rod. If the valve itself is leaking,
you may need a plumber to fix it.
Although water may not be seen or heard running, your toilet may have a silent leak. To test
for a silent leak, drop a little food coloring into the tank. DO NOT FLUSH. Wait for about 10
minutes. If the food coloring appears in the toilet bowl, your toilet has a silent leak. It is
probably located in or around the plunger ball or flapper valve at the bottom of the tank.
These leaks are easy to fix with parts from your local hardware or home store.
Do not forget to inspect your outside faucets, sprinkler systems and garden hoses. It’s easy
to overlook a hose that was not turned off completely. Thousands of gallons of water can be
wasted that way in just over a period of a few short summer months. Another source of a
leak could be your hot water tank. Check your tanks drain and pressure relief valves. Often
times these valves are plumbed to your sewer line and when leaking, go unnoticed.
If you suspect a leak and none were found by following the suggestions above, a thorough
inspection of your pipes, lines, connections and valves, would be the next step. For more
information, contact Carlisle Borough’s Water Department at 249-4422.