How to Trace a Water Leak in Your Home’s Plumbing

A water leak is every household’s regular enemy; they silently spike your bills while damaging fixtures in the process. Although leaks are usually minor and easy to repair, they can happen anywhere around your home and, when gone undetected for too long, can cause major damages.

Hands down, the best choice would be to call a Diamond Certified plumber to confirm your suspicions. But while waiting for your plumber to arrive, you can do some damage control. Try the following ways to trace the leak yourself.

Turn your main water supply off

When suspecting a leak at home, promptly shut off your water supply. Apart from ripping you off on your water bill, leaks can cause further damage when left seeping through floorings and walls. Make sure you dry off pools to avoid surface and fixture damages or slipping hazards.

Check your consumption

How to Trace a Water Leak in Your Home's PlumbingAlthough households may vary, the typical daily water consumption for one person is 80 to 100 gallons or 12,000 gallons (16 CCF) for a family of four during the summer. That’s roughly 60 to 80 gallons or 9,600 gallons per month during winter. When your consumption is beyond that average, you may have a leaking problem.

To verify, gather your previous water bills and examine if there’s a steady increase in spite of the same household routines.

Examine your water meter

There are three ways you can detect leaks with the help of your water meter:

  1. Turn off your main shutoff valve for 20 to 30 minutes and make sure to record the reading. If the reading has changed, there may be a leak somewhere in your home. 
  2. Other water meters features a small triangle – usually blue, red, or white in color – that detects even the slightest leaks. When you see it moving after you have turned off the main valve, you may have a leak at home.
  3. If you turn off the main valve and see the meter’s hand spinning, your leak may be near the meter or inside the household.

Follow water flow

Leaks will often leave a trail. If you’ve already checked your pipes, toilets, and faucets, but still haven’t found the source, try searching around your home for other water sources or channels. Don’t forget to check the outside areas as well.

If you want to narrow down your options, try turning off the main valve of your water supply inside. Use the first meter-reading method. If your meter increases, your leak may likely be from the outside.

>> Read These 4 Common Plumbing Emergency Issues You MUST Know About To Protect Your Home

Inspect typical suspects – toilets, faucets, and pipes

Because of their material and usage, your pipes, toilets, and faucets are prone to plumbing issues. To check your toilet for leaks, grab a bottle of food coloring and remove the toilet lid. Add a few drops to your toilet tank water and leave for 10 to 15 minutes. You’ll know there’s a leak from the tank to the toilet drain when it starts to color. 

Your faucets will usually leak when your rubber washers are worn out. These are relatively easy to fix, provided you have new parts and tools. On the other hand, moisture, corrosion, and formation of molds in pipes are typical indicators of a leak.

Call Professionals

When you can’t seem to trace the source of your leak or repair the damage on your own, you now need to call the professionals. Service specialists will give you extensive status of the situation for you to know the next steps. They may also help you identify which other professionals to call, like your electrician.

A water leak is usually easy to handle. However, a leak that’s lasted for a while may cause some serious damage that you should get checked professionally. It’s highly recommended that you get plumbing issues done by a licensed plumber—especially with recurring ones that cause serious problems. Give yourself a break; step away from micromanaging potential water leaking issues and hand them over to your plumbing experts.




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