Water Leaks

How to Check For Leaks

Reading Your Water Meter

Use your water meter to check for leaks in your home. Start by turning off all faucets and water-using appliances and make sure no one uses water during the testing period. Take a reading on your water meter, wait 30 minutes, and then take a second reading. If the dial has moved, you have a leak.

Check For Leaky Toilets

The most common source of leaks is the toilet. Check toilets by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If after 15 minutes the dye shows up in the bowl, the toilet has a leak. On average, 20% of all toilets leak.

Check For Leaky Faucets

Replacing the rubber O-Ring or washer inside the valve can usually repair dripping faucets.


An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost. An irrigation system with pressure set at 60 pounds per square inch that has a leak 1/32 of an inch in diameter (about the thickness of a dime) can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer and ensure a tight connection to the spigot using pipe tape and a wrench.

For more information, visit the EPA's website.