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A drop of water hanging from an indoor faucet.

Water leaks

Finding and fixing leaks can save as much as 11,000 gallons of wasted water per year and more than 10 percent on water bills.

Faucets

With so many types of faucets on the market, the best source of repair information for a specific product may be the manufacturer's website. However, most faucets have a similar assembly with the same basic parts.

Repair kits can be purchased at your local hardware store. The kit should include a special adjusting ring wrench, seals, springs and O-rings. Also, washer assortment kits may be more cost-effective than buying washers individually.

Finding leaks around your home

Track down and fix water leaks in and around your home.

Irrigation system

  1. Turn off the valves to your irrigation system and check the flow-indicator arrow. If it has stopped moving, you may have a leak in your irrigation system.
  2. Check is your valve box to see if there is any water pooling in or around the box.
  3. Walk your property to check for pools of water and look for bubbles under your turf where water may have gotten trapped.
  4. Check your irrigation system for cracked or broken parts. You may want to hire a landscape professional to help with repairs.

Main service line

  1. Turn off all water inside and outside your home, then check the red or white flow-indicator triangle on your water meter. If it's still moving, you may have a leak.
  2. Find your water shutoff valve, usually in your front yard near the sewer riser cap, in your garage or in your home's manifold system. Make sure your water is turned off at these sources.
  3. Go back to your meter and check the flow-indicator triangle. If it is still moving, the leak is most likely underground between the shutoff valve and the water meter. If the triangle has stopped moving, the leak is somewhere else around your home.
  4. You'll also need to shut off your anti-siphon valve. If the flow-indicator triangle continues to move after the anti-siphon valve has been shut off, your anti-siphon valve may be broken and will need to be repaired or replaced. Anti-siphon valves should be tested once a year.

How to find a leak in your pool or spa

Pools and spas

  1. Turn off the automatic fill valve.
  2. Place a bucket on a step where the bucket rim is at least a few inches above the water line.
  3. Place a heavy weight in the bucket and add water until the water level inside the bucket is equal with the water in the pool.
  4. Leave the bucket in the pool undisturbed for several days, then compare the water level in the bucket to the water level in the pool. If the water level in the bucket is noticeably higher than the water level in the pool, you may have a leak in your pool. Contact a pool leak detection specialist for more help.
water meter closeup

Reading your water meter

About 90 percent of all area residential water meters are in the front sidewalk of the home. The meter lid is marked either "water" or the name of your water provider.

How to use your water meter to find leaks

Use your water meter to locate the source of indoor water leaks.

Toilets

More than 20 percent of toilets have a leak, find out if yours is among them. To figure out if your toilet is leaking, start by listening. Does your toilet sound like it’s running all day (continuous trickling)? Or does it sound like your toilet is refilling periodically (phantom flushing)?

Water softener

Most softeners have a bypass lever. Turn the lever to allow water to bypass the softener. Check the flow indicator at the water meter. If the flow indicator is no longer moving, you have isolated the leak to your softener. (You also can check for leaking swamp coolers, water-cooled air conditioners, ice machines and reverse-osmosis units by turning the bypass lever on each and checking the meter.)

If you are not able to find the leak, you may want to consider contacting a professional plumber to locate and fix the leak. If you find a simple leak like your toilet flapper or kitchen faucet, you may want to fix the problem yourself.

For more information, call the Conservation Help line at 702-258-SAVE.