Do you have a higher than expected water bill and suspect a possible plumbing leak which may be contributing to it? You can test for a potential plumbing leak by following the steps below. Click the link for more information on how to read your water meter.
1. Walk around your home checking for any obvious leaks. Look at every water connection in the home and around the hose bibs outside. Check your yard for signs of wet ground or extra green patches, these could be a sign of an irrigation leak. These would be the easiest to see and fix.
2. Make sure no water is running in your home by ensuring that all faucets, dishwashers, pool fillers, washers, toilets, and sprinklers are off or are not being used. Go to your water meter and check the flow indicator, if it is spinning that means that there is something on your property demanding water. For smaller leaks, you may need to watch the flow indicator over a 15-20 minute period because the indicator may move slowly.
3. Next locate the private shut off valve to your home which is usually located near a hose bib at the front of the house. Turn the valve so that the water is all the way off. Check the flow indicator again, if it is still moving there is a leak in the line between the meter and your home. If the flow indicator has stopped moving, more investigation is needed.
4.Turn back on the water to the home using the private shut off valve. If you have a shut off valve at the back of your home or to the irrigation, turn the valve into the off position. Check the flow indicator again, if it has stopped moving the leak is not more than likely not in the home but somewhere in the back yard of the home. If the flow indicator is still spinning, then there is still demand for water in the home. This would more than likely mean a plumber will be needed to determine where the leak is occurring.
If there are no leaks, turn on your sprinklers and check each sprinkler head to ensure it has not broken off. Also check how long sprinklers run and if they are watering the areas desired. Over watering typically accounts for most high water bills especially in summer months.
Visit EPA's Fix A Week website to learn ways to check for leaks in your home. Below are more resources from h2ouse.org to help determine leaks on common water fixtures in your home: