How To Find And Stop Leaks

A dripping faucet or other small leak in your water system may not seem like big problem. But those drops quickly start adding up – and can waste up to 60,000 gallons of water a year if left unchecked. A leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day – the equivalent of 50 extra flushes per day.

To find out if your system has any leaks – even ones you can’t see – follow these steps:

  1. Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, such as the dish and clothes washers. 
  2. Locate your water meter. If your water meter is inside your house, you’ll usually find it in your basement, crawl space or utility room. If it’s outside, look for a covered “pit” in front of your house, set flush to the ground.
  3. Lift the cover off the meter dial. On most meters you’ll see a red “telltale” indicator. If it’s moving when all the water is turned off, you probably have a leak.

If your meter doesn’t have a telltale, simply compare two readings of your meter over 30-60 minutes of time:

  1. Reading your meter is like reading the odometer of a car. Read the numbers from left to right that appear under or over the words "Cubic Feet" or “Gallons”:
    • The first number on the right represents one cubic foot or gallon.
    • The second number from the right represents 10 cubic feet, or 10 gallons. The third from the number (usually a different color) represents 100 cubic feet (or one "CCF"), or 1,000 gallons (one “kgal”).
    • One revolution of the meter sweep-hand (the arm that goes around in a circle) equals one cubic foot or 7.48 gallons.
  2. Read and write down the entire reading (all numbers)
  3. Wait 30-60 minutes, without using any water. Check the reading again. If the reading has changed, you probably have a leak somewhere in your plumbing system.