How to Detect a Water Leak in Your House: 7 Check-Ups

A leak on your water line isn’t just irritating, it can be very costly, and only gets more expensive the longer you take to diagnose and repair the leak.

There’s no reason to be overwhelmed, because most leaks are easy to find and fix. Knowing a few tricks on how to detect a water leak can save you a lot of money down the line, so keep reading to see what you can do to mitigate costs before you contact an experienced plumber.

Here are seven inspection points on how to detect a water leak in your home:

1. Leaking Faucet

A faucet will generally leak due to a worn-out rubber washer. The washer on your ink is probably under the handle, and are usually easy to replace. You will need to shut off the water first, either under the sink or at the main water shutoff valve. Your local hardware or home centre will likely have some tips on how to replace the washer.

2. Use Your Water Meter to Detect Leaks

The best and first thing you should do if you suspect you have a leak is to check your water meter. Make sure there is no water running inside or outside of your house. Look at the meter and see if it’s moving. If it moves, you have a leak.

Now you need to figure out if the leak is inside or outside. Find your home’s main water shutoff valve and turn it off. Look again at your meter and see if it’s still moving. If the indicator isn’t moving, then your leak is inside of your house. If the meter is still moving, then the leak is outside between the house and the meter.

3. Leaking Toilet

A leak in your toilet can cost you hundreds of gallons of water a year, and are usually not obvious. Luckily, they are easy to fix and don’t usually require a plumber. To detect leaks in your toilet, take off the tank lid and drop in a few drops of food colouring in the tank. Wait 30 minute or so and then look in the toilet bowl. If any of the colour has come through, you have a leak. If the water is clear, your toilet is not leaking.

In most cases of a leaking toilet, the toilet flapper needs to be replaced. The flapper is the rubber bit at the bottom of the tank that lifts up when you flush the toilet. If the flapper i cracked or worn out, water can flow continuously down from the tank to the toilet bowl, even when you’re not flushing the toilet. You can, of course, install a new toilet, but it’s also an easy matter to replace the toilet flapper.

4. Leaking Overflow Tube

The ideal water level for a toilet tank is at the fill line on the back of the tan, usually 1/2-inch below the overflow tube. If the water is set too high the toilet will automatically release water into the toilet bowl. You can adjust this by turning the adjustment screw, or by bending the float arm down so the water shuts off below the overflow tube.

5. Flush Handle Issues

If you have to jiggle the handle to stop the toilet from running, the chain, handle, or flush level bar might be sticking. Check the nut that secures the handle to the toilet tank to see if it is secure.

6. Other Water Leaks

A leak out of the sink or tub faucets tends to be pretty obvious, but what about a leak of wastewater? Look for discolouration stains, warping, or wet stains on your woodwork, floors, walls, and ceilings. Make sure you identify the actual source of the leak instead of just the damage. Water might be running along a channel or ledge before it drains down to cause the damage.

Excessive condensation is another type of water leak because it can cause great damage to your walls, ceilings, woodwork, and floors. You may need to insulate your pipe to stop or minimize the condensation.

7. Underground Leaks

There are two ways to detect underground leaks: by looking and by checking your meter. First, look for areas of your property that are always wet. Look at your street, curb, or driveway for evidence of water flow, like a darker spot or a puddle that never dries.

The second way is to check your meter. If you have fixed all other source of leaks, and the meter still shows usage, you might have an underground leak.

If you can’t find the source of your leak, or you don’t know how to complete the repair yourself to stop a leak, call a plumber for help. It’s always a good idea to have help replacing a toilet or faucet if you’ve never done it before, and underground leaks will have to be fixed by professionals.