- 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.
- Locate your water meter. It should be out in your front yard under a metal cover. Remove the cover to view the meter.
- 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.
- 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.