In the U.S., 10% of homes have water leaks
that waste 90 gallons of water or more each day.
Early detection of a water leak will not only keep you from wasting water, it can help you avert a messy and costly disaster—we’re talking thousands of dollars in flood damages
and 10% on your water bill
So how do you check for water leaks in your home? To find out if your home has a hidden leak, or try and prevent one, here’s what you should do.Check your water meter.
Perhaps the best and easiest way to find out if you have a plumbing leak somewhere in your house is looking at your water meter. Do this by making sure all the water is turned off inside your house, i.e. faucets, washing machine, dishwasher, and then go outside and watch your meter. If it changes quickly, then you’ve got a high-powered leak somewhere. If it doesn’t move, then go about your normal routine for 1-2 hours, still keeping the water off, and then go back to see if the meter has changed. If it has, you have a slow leak, but if not, you’re in the dry clear.Monitor your water bill.
If you notice month after month that your water bill keeps slightly rising but your family’s water habits haven’t changed, then a hidden leak could be to blame. Look at your water bills from the past 3-4 months and compare your water usage numbers and costs to see if both have steadily increased during those months. If your bill hints at you having a water leak, but you can’t find where it’s coming from, it could be from an underground pipe. At this point, you’ll want to call a plumber to come check out all your pipes.Put food coloring in your toilet.
Toilets account for nearly 27% of the average American family’s indoor water usage
. And that amount only increases if yours has a leak. In fact, an undetected toilet leak can lead to your family using up to 300 gallons of water a day
and paying an extra $500 or more a year on your water bill. To save yourself cash and water, do a simple food coloring test every once in awhile. All you have to do is add a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank, wait for 10 minutes and then check your toilet bowl. If the color appears, you have a leak.Look outside.
Water leaks don’t just happen inside your house; they’re also outside. Check all your outside spigots by attaching a garden hose to each one. If water seeps out through the connection with the hose running, double check that your connections are tight and replace the rubber hose gasket if water is still leaking. And if you’re all about having the best-looking green yard in the neighborhood, have a professional come check your irrigation system every spring to make sure it’s in tip-top shape. A leaky irrigation system can waste up to 6,300 gallons of water
each month. Can you imagine what your water bill would look like then?Grab a flashlight and go for a walkabout.
Turn off your water, grab your phone (or a pencil and pad if you’re old school) and then walk through your home looking for any signs of leaks or water damage. Common signs include hearing running water and seeing standing water, mold, mildew or stained floors, walls or ceilings. It’s best to start in the lowest level of your house and then work your way up. And don’t forget to check in the back of kitchen and bathroom cabinets and under sinks.
Another way to protect yourself from costly water usage and water damage is getting water leak sensors. They’re cost-effective, small and only take 15 minutes to install. They can be placed on your water heater, toilet, etc., and are programmed to alarm you if something breaks or water is detected. Some water detectors can even link with your home security system, so if you’re not home or can’t respond to an alarm, the system will alert emergency services.