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Leak Detection and Repair
High water bills are often caused by a leak inside or outside your home. You can easily perform a leak check using your water meter. Just follow these four simple steps:

  1. Turn off all the water using appliances in your home, including the washing machine, dishwasher, and ice maker, and tell everyone at home not to use the sinks, showers, or toilets for the next two hours.  Do not shut off the water supply to your toilets.
  2. Locate your water meter. It should be out in your front yard under a metal cover. Remove the cover to view the meter.
  3. Write down the number you see on the meter readout. Also observe the small leak detection wheel and the needle on the face of the meter. Nothing on the meter should be moving when you are not using any water inside or outside your home. 
  4. After two hours of no water use, go outside and read the meter again. The number should not have changed. If the readout did change, or if you notice any movement on the meter during the test, you probably have a leak. 

If you discover you have a leak, here’s what to check:

  • Check your toilets by putting one teaspoon of food coloring in the tank (the back of the toilet) or use the dye tablets we provide. Don’t flush! Wait 15 minutes and check to see if any color has appeared in the bowl. Some toilet leaks can be silent and a dye test will help you find them. 
  • If your toilet is leaking, the cause is most often a faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays. It is usually best to replace the whole flapper—a relatively easy do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time. If your toilet is running constantly, you could be wasting 200 gallons of water or more every day!
  • Other steps to take indoors include checking for dripping faucets or showerheads, looking under your sinks and inspecting pipes under your home (if there’s a basement or crawl space). Also check around your hot water heater for any puddles or drips.
  • Outdoors, check spigots and hoses for leaks and walk around your yard to look for soggy areas that could indicate a leak in the line that runs between the water meter and your house. 

Toilet Leak Detection Kits
The Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources provides free toilet leak detection kits. The kits contain dye tablets to test your toilet for leakage and tips on how to fix minor leaks. They also include a drip guide that indicates how much water is being wasted from dripping faucets.  These kits are available at the customer service counter at DWR’s Central Facility at 684 Winder Highway in Lawrenceville. To have one mailed to you, email dwrconserve@gwinnettcounty.com or call 678.376.6722.

Drip Calculators
Have you put off repairing that leaky faucet because it’s only a little drip? Even little drips can add up to hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water waste if allowed to continue for weeks or months. Use one of the drip calculators below to learn how much water that little leak is wasting over time.

USGS Drip Calculator
American Water Works Association Drip Calculator


Do-It-Yourself Leak Repair
Leaks account for more than 10,000 gallons of water waste in an average home every year. In many cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly in water savings and can be installed by handy do-it-yourselfers.

  • As you start the repair, take pictures of the way parts are assembled so you remember how to put them back together.
  • Staff at hardware and home improvement stores are often great sources of information and advice.
  • Take your old parts and/or photos to the store with you to help find the correct replacements.

Leak Repair Videos
Homeowner Series: Diagnostics 
Homeowner Series: Flapper Replacement
Homeowner Series: Flush Valve Replacement - Part 1 of 2 
Homeowner Series: Flush Valve Replacement - Part 2 of 2 
Homeowner Series: Fill Valve Replacement
Lowe’s: How to Fix a Leaky Faucet with Two Handles
Lowe’s: How to Fix a Leaky Faucet with a Single Handle
Home Depot: Replacing a Bathtub Spout