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How to determine if you have a water leak

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The best method for determining whether you have a water leak in your home is to follow this four step procedure.

  1. Turn off all water around the house including outside spigots.
  2. Look at the leak indicator (triangle) on your meter register.
  3. If the leak indicator is moving, water is running somewhere in your system.
  4. Check all toilets and inside and outside faucets for leaks.

Water Meter Leak IndicatorIf you cannot account for the running water by sinks, toilet, faucets, humidifier, automatic icemaker or water softener, you have a leak, and further investigation is recommended.

Ninety percent of all leaks in residential plumbing systems are found in the toilet tank, Malfunctioning water softeners and humidifiers run a distant second and third.

Toilets leak at the bottom of the tank around the flapper valve or at the top of the tank at the overflow tube. To test the flapper valve, remove the lid from the back of the tank and mark the water level in your toilet tank with a pencil. Turn off the water supply to the toilet. If the water remains on the mark you made for 10 minutes, the flapper valve is not leaking, If the water level drops below the mark you made, the flapper valve is leaking and should be replace.

The water level in the toilet tank should be at least 1 inch below the top of the overflow tube. If the water level in the toilet tank is at the top of the overflow tube, a leak may be occurring there. The float that controls the water level in the tank should be adjusted so that the water level in the tank is roughly 1 inch below the top of the tube.

Toilet tank leaks typically result from worn parts or improper alignment of some part of the flushing mechanism. Most repairs can be done by an experienced “do it yourself” person. If you are unsure how to handle the job, call a plumber. It is very important to stop the leak.

Water leaks are costly. A typical toilet leak at today’s rates can add up to $250, and sometimes substantially more, to your monthly utility bill.