mitigating home plumbing leaks

Locating, Identifying and Mitigating Home Plumbing Leaks, Part 1

If you’ve noticed a major spike in your home’s water bill compared to where it was in recent months or a year ago at this time, one of the first culprits to consider is a potential leak somewhere in the home. Even a single plumbing leak might be wasting more water than you would have expected, possibly even enough to significantly raise your bill – and also create other issues that you might not be noticing.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical, our plumbing services include a wide array of techniques for identifying and repairing water leaks anywhere in your system. In this two-part blog, we’ll first dig into the numbers behind what leaks can do to your water bill, then go over some basic DIY steps you can take to determine if you have a leak in your home. Finally, we’ll look at some of the common leak sources you could be dealing with and what can be done about each of them.

Basic Leak and Water Usage Facts

Each person in the US uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water on a given day, per the US Geological Survey. But as data from American Water Works Company showcases, this amount can rise sharply when leaks are present in the home. The average homeowner can save around 10 percent on their water bill simply by locating and fixing leaks in their system, a potentially massive savings that adds up over the course of the year.

So how do you detect a leak in your system and locate it? Here are some steps to follow:

Water Meter Location and First Steps

First, locate the water meter found in every home. The most common location is in the basement near your water heater, or sometimes near the main water shut-off valve.

One you’ve located the water meter, mark its location. From here, ensure there’s no water being used in any faucet in the home before you begin. Now, look at the water meter and see if the red dial on it is moving – if so, this means water is running somewhere. If it’s not due to any faucet being turned on, this must mean it’s a leak.

Checking Toilets

If you have a moving dial that signals a leak, the next step is to go to each toilet in the home individually and use the shut-off valve on the back of the element to turn the water off. After each time doing this, go back to the water meter and see if it’s still moving. If it stops after a specific toilet, there’s your leak source.

Checking Faucets and Hose Bibs

If the meter keeps moving after each toilet shut-off, perform the same process on all faucets and hose bibs in your home as well. They could be the source if it isn’t a toilet.

Overnight Reading

Finally, if none of your toilets, faucets or hose bibs is the source of the issue, take a final reading from the meter at the end of the night when you’ve finished using water in the home. Then, check the meter again in the morning. If the number is higher, you still have a leak and should contact our plumbers to help locate it.

For more on detecting and identifying plumbing leaks in your home, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical today.