How to Find a Water Leak in Your Home
Water leaks can be sneaky, expensive little problems. You aren’t aware that you are using any extra water, yet suddenly you have a big water bill on your hand.
I recently experienced this problem myself. My water bill arrived in the mail, and it said that I had used 42,000 gallons of water in the two-month billing cycle. During the previous two-month billing cycle, I had used just 16,000 gallons of water. I called the water company, sure that there must be a problem with the meter. The company sent a representative out to my home, who compared the indoor and outdoor meters and confirmed that my reading was correct. We walked through my house together in search of the problem.
We hadn’t filled a swimming pool or used an irrigation system on our lawn. We hadn’t even had guests staying with us. There was no clear explanation for this sudden increase in our water use. We went downstairs and checked the sump pump. We discovered that both the main sump pump and the backup pump, which was a water injection system, had failed. We had record amounts of snow over the winter. When the spring came and it started to melt, the water ran into our yard drains. The defective backup sump pump – a water injection system – was running nonstop, pulling water from the city water line and sending straight into the sewer line. We found the problem, and the cost of the repair was a new sump pump and the $300 water bill.
The final kick in the pants came the following month when we received the sewer bill. It cost another $300 to pay for treatment of the water that our sump pump kicked out into the sewer, but we never even used. That was an expensive and irritating lesson.
Fortunately, you can easily check for water leaks in your house and avoid these kinds of expensive problems. Follow these simple steps.
- 1. First, find your water meter. Some houses have one inside and one outside, while others only have one meter, which is usually located on the outside of the house.
- 2. Turn off anything in your house that uses water. Don’t forget the dishwasher, washing machine, and icemaker.
- 3. Check the meter. If it is moving, then you have a fast leak. If it is not moving, wait for 10 – 15 minutes and check again. If the meter has moved at that point, then you have a slow leak.
- 4. Use the main water shutoff valve to turn off all the water to the house, and check the meter again. If it is still moving, then you have a leak in the service line. Call your water company.
- 5. If the problem is not the service line, then you can check around your home for leaks. Check your irrigation system for broken sprinkler heads. Check your toilets for a faulty flapper. Common sources of water leaks include compression faucets, swimming pools, washing machines, icemakers, showers, and hot water heaters.
If you know where the leak is but need help repairing it, call us, too. We’ll take care of your leak promptly before your water bill skyrockets. Call Scott English Plumbing for help with all of your plumbing needs.